Tectonic and lithologic controls on the landscape adjustment along the eastern terrain of the Mae Tha fault, northern Thailand


  • Pichawut Manopkawee Department of Geological Sciences, Chiang Mai University https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1602-2987
  • Niti Mankhemthong
  • Chanin Pattarakamolsen




Mae Tha fault, Landscape Adjustment, Longitudinal channel profiles, Channel steepness, Rock uplift


Understanding the interaction between tectonics, climatically-driven surficial processes, and bedrock erodibility provides insight into how the landscape develops over space and time. Although numerous active faults, lithologic and climatic variability control the landscape across Northern Thailand, the influence of these factors on the spatial adjustment of a dynamic landscape is largely unknown. In the study, we focus on lower-order channels developed across the eastern terrain of the Mae Tha fault, in which spatial variability in rock mass quality and fault characteristics strongly control the landscape. We combine topographic data analysis from channel profiles and geologic field observations to determine variations in bedrock watershed characteristics and any linear structures across the site. Our results reveal that channels in the northern and central zones of the terrain are relatively steeper because a west-dipping fault controls them with less fracture density of granite. Channels in the south, however, are less steep as an oblique-slip fault governs their profiles with a higher fracture density of bedrock. Moreover, channels flowing across different lithologic bedrocks exhibit steeper channel profiles than channels developed in uniform lithology. Our study highlights the use of topographic adjustment as one of the efficient tools to describe the dynamics of active deformation on the landscape over space and time. According to the mutual analysis, our finding suggests that lithologic resistance and spatial differences in fault lineaments ultimately control characters of channel profiles and overall landscape topography.