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A new approach to thermal history modelling with detrital low temperature thermochronological data

Abstract : We present an inverse modelling strategy to infer thermal history information from detrital low temperature thermochronological data from modern sediment sampling the outlet of a single catchment. As presented, the method relies on the assumption that the geological timescale thermal history was the same across the catchment. The detrital sample is assumed to represent a mixture of grains originating from a potentially unknown sampling of the present elevation range in the catchment. The approach also implements a method to infer a function describing the topographic sampling represented in the detrital sample. In practice, this may reflect variations in erosion with elevation but also lithological differences in the catchment (fertility) and the nature of erosion/transport processes in the catchment. A combination of detrital and in-situ bedrock data are recommended to improve the resolution of the topographic sampling function. We demonstrate the application of the approach to a set of fission track data from the Fundación catchment in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia. The inferred thermal history suggest a period of rapid cooling initiated around 50-30 Ma, followed by slower cooling to the present day, consistent with the regional geological history. The topographic sampling function estimates suggest that the hypsometric distribution is not appropriate in terms of the contributions from different elevations to the detrital sample. Rather, the data imply a higher proportion of sampling from lower elevations close to the location of the outlet where the detrital sample was collected.
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Kerry Gallagher, Mauricio Parra. A new approach to thermal history modelling with detrital low temperature thermochronological data. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2020, 529, pp.115872. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115872⟩. ⟨insu-02317389⟩

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