Landforms and landscape evolution in the Skardu, Shigar and Braldu Valleys, Central Karakoram
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The Central Karakoram, which includes K2 in Pakistan, is one of the most rapidly rising areas on Earth and exhibits complex topography and extreme relief. Impressive valley fills and glacial landforms are present throughout the valleys. The dynamics of landscape evolution of the region are currently not well understood. Consequently, the landforms were mapped and assessed in the Skardu, Shigar, and Braldu valleys, to elucidate the spatio-temporal scale dependencies of surface processes active in the region. These valleys were examined using geomorphic field methods, remote sensing, geomorphometry, and terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides (TCNs) surface exposure dating. The glaciers in this region have oscillated considerably throughout the Late Quaternary, and four glacial stages have been recognized including at least six glacial advances. Surface processes readjusted after glacier retreat, and ubiquitous mass movements and catastrophic landsliding transported material from steep slopes to valley bottoms, while glaciofluvial meltwater and glacier outburst floods redistributed sediment down valley. Glacier geochronology and late Holocene ages of the outburst flood deposits indicate that landscape evolution has been dominated by glaciation and paraglaciation during the late Quaternary. 2008 Elsevier B.V.