GEMT: Collaborative research: From grain to rock and back again: Elucidating the coordinated evolution of exhumation pathways, rock strength and topography in the Taiwanese orogen

Project: Research project

Project Details


Topography influences stress in the Earth's crust and the pattern of deformation that arises during mountain building. Because the material properties of rocks near the surface of the Earth depend on their burial and exhumation history, in collisional mountain belts feedbacks may exist between the burial history of rocks in the subsurface, their strength at the surface, and topography. However, few field data exist to evaluate the strength of such feedbacks between surface and deep-Earth processes. This project will address this knowledge gap by quantifying the tectonic origin and geomorphic implications of variations in rock material properties across the Taiwan Central Range. In addition, this project will facilitate international collaboration between US and Taiwanese scientists through paired field expeditions and a student exchange program, leveraging new and existing research collaborations.

To explore relationships among burial and exhumation history, rock strength, and topography, this project will collect and integrate a paired dataset of structural and geomorphic observations. Existing and new measurements of erosion rates and thermal and deformation history will constrain patterns in burial and exhumation. Field surveys of river corridors assisted by small unmanned aerial vehicles will facilitate characterization of how rock properties influence river incision and hillslope-channel coupling at high resolution (centimeter-scale) and large spatial extent (kilometer-scale). Repeat surveys will enable high-resolution analysis of river response to individual storms. Data from this project will serve as a baseline for quantifying landscape response to future extreme events and help to address hazards associated with landslides, floods, and sedimentation.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date4/1/203/31/24


  • National Science Foundation: $471,887.00


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