Fluvial response to Holocene volcanic damming and breaching in the Gediz and Geren rivers, western Turkey
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This study discusses the complex late Holocene evolution of the Gediz River north of Kula,western Turkey, when a basaltic lava flow dammed and filled this river valley. Age control was obtained using established and novel feldspar luminescence techniques on fluvial sands below and on top of the flow. This dating constrained the age of the lava flow to 3.0–2.6 ka. Two damming locations caused by the lava flow have been investigated. The upstream dam caused lake formation and siltation of the upstream Gediz. The downstream dam blocked both the Gediz and a tributary river, the Geren. The associated lake was not silted up because the upstream dam already trapped all the Gediz sediments. Backfillings of the downstream lake are found 1.5 km upstream into the Geren valley. The downstream dam breached first, after which the upstream dam breached creating an outburst flood that imbricated boulders of 10 m3 size and created an epigenetic gorge. The Gediz has lowered its floodplain level at least 15 m since the time of damming, triggering landslides, some of which are active until present. The lower reach of the Geren has experienced fast base level lowering and changed regime from meandering to a straight channel. Complex response to base level change is still ongoing in the Geren and Gediz catchments. These findings are summarized in a diagram conceptualizing lava damming and breaching events. This study demonstrates that one lava flow filling a valley floor can block a river at several locations, leading to different but interrelated fluvial responses of the same river system to the same lava flow....

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