Erosion of a high-altitude, low-relief area on the Korean Peninsula: Implications for its development processes and evolution

Jongmin Byun, Arjun Heimsath, Yeong Bae Seong, Soo Yong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The processes involved in the development of high-altitude, low-relief areas (HLAs) are still poorly understood. Although cosmogenic nuclides have provided insights into the evolution of HLAs interpreted as paleo-surfaces, most studies focus on estimating how slowly they erode and thereby their relative stability. To understand actual development processes of HLAs, we applied several techniques of cosmogenic nuclides in the Daegwanryeong Plateau, a well-known HLA in the Korean Peninsula. Our denudation data from strath terraces, riverine sediments, soils, and tors provide the following conclusions: (1) bedrock incision rate in the plateau (~127m Myr-1) is controlled by the incision rate of the western part of the Korean Peninsula, and is similar to the catchment-wide denudation rate of the plateau (~93m Myr-1); (2) the soil production function we observed shows weak depth dependency that may result from highly weathered bedrock coupled with frequent frost action driven by alpine climate; (3) a discrepancy between the soil production and catchment-wide denudation rates implies morphological disequilibrium in the plateau; (4) the tors once regarded as fossil landforms of the Tertiary do not reflect Tertiary processes; and (5) when compared with those of global paleo-surfaces (<20m Myr-1), our rapid denudation rates suggest that the plateau cannot have maintained its probable initial paleo landscape, and thus is not a paleo-surface. Our data contribute to understanding the surface processes of actively eroding upland landscapes as well as call into question conventional interpretations of supposed paleo-surfaces around the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1730-1745
Number of pages16
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number13
StatePublished - Oct 2015


  • Catchment-wide denudation
  • Cosmogenic nuclides
  • Daegwanryeong Plateau
  • Korean Peninsula
  • Paleo-surface
  • Peneplain
  • Soil production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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