Geomorphological activity and plant colonization in alluvial fan deposits on Central Monte desert of Argentina

D. Flores, G. Suvires, R. Ocaña

Abstract


A geomorphodynamic analysis was developed in a piedmont of Sierra Chica de Zonda Range in the Precordillera Oriental of Argentina using a combination of traditional methods including photointerpretation of aerial photos, analysis of satellite images and analysis of geomorphological processes and vegetation parameters in the field. The aim was to identify and characterize alluvial fan deposits with different morphodynamic processes, and to establish a relationship between processes and native vegetation properties. The geomorphological surveys and field observations enabled the identification and classification of two large morphodynamic units: a) current functional and active deposits and b) ancient non-functional and inactive deposits. The vegetation coverage associated to these deposits showed a significant difference (p=0.034); species diversity and richness varied according to the processes operating in the alluvial fan sectors. During the Quaternary period several changes occurred in the dynamic processes in this area, which caused the development of at least two cycles of load flow deposit with a different relationship between solids and fluids. Currently, these different alluvial fan deposits are subject to diverse dynamic processes, which influence the characteristics of the colonization and the distribution of native plants. The vegetation is distributed in relation to the type of deposit over which it grows; however, it also depends on the dynamics of the processes taking place in geomorphological units. Both the identification and analysis of geomorphological processes are important for determining vegetation cover and distribution over alluvial fans in arid areas.

Keywords


Morphodynamics, Sierra Chica de Zonda, vegetation cover, geomorphology, piedmont, alluvial fans

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18172/cig.2982

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