Sediment yield along the Andes: Continental budget, regional variations, and comparisons with other basins from orogenic mountain belts



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We assess the sediment yield at 119 gauging stations distributed from Colombia to Patagonia, covering the different morphotectonic and morphoclimatic settings of the Andes. The most productive areas are the Meta River basin within the northern Andes and the Bolivian and northern Argentina-Chaco systems, which produce an average of 3345, 4909 and 2654tkm2 y-1 of sediment, respectively. The rivers of the northern and central Andes (excluding the Pacific watersheds of Peru, northern Chile, and central Argentina) have a weighted mean sediment yield of 2045tkm-2 y-1 and produce 2.25 GTy-1 of total sediment. A major constraint estimating the Andean continental budget of sediment yield lies in the lack of gauging data for the Peruvian region. Using the available gauge stations, the regional sediment yield appears underestimated. Assuming a higher value of sediment yield for the Peruvian Andes, the total budget for the whole central Andes could range between 2.57 GT y-1 and 3.44 GT y-1. A minimum of~0.55 GT y-1 and a probable maximum of~1.74 GT y-1 of sediment are deposited in the intramontane and surrounding proximal sedimentary basins. The magnitude of sediment yield in the Andes is comparable to other rivers draining orogenic belts around the world. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


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