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Relationship between morphology, stratigraphy and hydrology in the formation of peatlands in the Serra do Espinhaço Meridional (MG)

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José Ricardo da Rocha Campos
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Pablo Vidal Torrado; Marcos Rafael Nanni; Nádia Regina do Nascimento; Carlos Ernesto Gonçalves Reynaud Schaefer
Advisor: Pablo Vidal Torrado

The morphology of the Serra do Espinhaço Meridonal is associated with various tectonic processes. In combination with the prevalence of a quartzite lithology this caused the formation of a complex system of faults, fractures and folds that control the Quaternary sedimentation and drainage network. Impeded drainage cause hydromorphic environments in which organic matter (OM) may accumulate, causing the formation of peatlands. Based on the hypothesis that the formation of peatlands in this area is controlled by impeded drainage of quartzite structures, the aims of this thesis were (i) to study the relationship between morphology, stratigraphy and hydrology, (ii) to determine the influence of this relationship on the formation of peatlands, and (iii) to interpret this in the context of climatic changes in the Pleistocene and Holocene. This will be done by a spatial analysis of the physical environment of five watersheds. The watersheds were selected based on geomorphological patterns that favor peat formation, including quartzite plains, hanging valleys and elongated valleys flanked by gentle slopes. The configuration of the rocky basement will be determined with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), a compilation of geological maps of the area will be made, and the main geomorphological features will be examined using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) models. The chronology, stratigraphy and origin of OM were analyzed by C14 dating, particle size and isotopic fractionation, respectively. The results indicate that the peatlands are preferentially formed on rock types other than quartzite, which are occasionally located between the highly resistant quartzite rocks. Because this material is more susceptible to weathering, depressions were formed in which water tends to accumulate, thereby providing conditions that favor peat formation. However, GPR data showed that peatlands were also formed on quartzite rocks when the subsurface showed elongated valleys adapted to crashes and hanging valleys. Burried peat was found at some places, which was related to tectonic lineament patterns with an east-west direction. These tectonic lineament patterns partially controlled the drainage and sedimentation in the central part of the area. Variation in sedimentary processes (peat formation vs. mineral influx/erosion) was found to be strongly related to climatic changes in the Holocene and Pleistocene. At least six periods of climate change were observed: between 30.251 and 12.418 yr BP climate favored the deposition of OM, between 12,418 and 7890 yr BP erosion processes were more intense; between 7.890 - 3.280 yr BP a hot and humid climate favored peat formation, and the last 2.590 years the climate was similar to the current favorable with three brief periods of peat deposition were observed. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/21191-3 - Peatlands evolution model of Serra do Espinhaço Meridional in a pedological, geomorphologic and geochemical approach
Grantee:Jose Ricardo da Rocha Campos
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate