CiteWeb id: 20150000046

CiteWeb score: 2446

DOI: 10.1086/629606

Analysis of data from 280 rivers discharging to the ocean indicates that sediment loads/yields are a log-linear function of basin area and maximum elevation of the river basin. Other factors controlling sediment discharge (e.g., climate, runoff) appear to have secondary importance. A notable exception is the influence of human activity, climate, and geology on the rivers draining southern Asia and Oceania. Sediment fluxes from small mountainous rivers, many of which discharge directly onto active margins (e.g., western South and North America and most high-standing oceanic islands), have been greatly underestimated in previous global sediment budgets, perhaps by as much as a factor of three. In contrast, sediment fluxes to the ocean from large rivers (nearly all of which discharge onto passive margins or marginal seas) have been overestimated, as some of the sediment load is subaerially sequestered in subsiding deltas. Before the proliferation of dam construction in the latter half of this century, rivers...