Regional distribution and characteristics of major badland landscapes in Turkey


Avcioglu A., Görüm T., AKBAŞ A., Moreno-de las Heras M., Yıldırım C., Yetemen Ö.

CATENA, vol.218, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 218
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.catena.2022.106562
  • Journal Name: CATENA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Environment Index, Veterinary Science Database, DIALNET, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Badlands, Landscape, Erosion, K-Means plus plus Clustering, Turkey, CENTRAL ANATOLIAN PLATEAU, HOLOCENE ENVIRONMENTAL-CHANGE, EROSION PROCESSES, CLIMATE-CHANGE, SOUTHERN MARGIN, UPLIFT, RUNOFF, CALANCHI, AREA, PATTERNS
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Badlands are extremely rugged, outstanding landscapes that can be seen in all ice-free climate regions over erosion-susceptible unconsolidated materials, and they have drawn attention with their spectacular and iconic forms. Unlike nearly all badlands researches conducted at the experimental site and watershed scale, so far, the broader-scale evaluation has been neglected in the analysis of badland distribution, characteristics, and dynamics. Our study provides an integrative new insight into badland landscapes by investigating the distribution, characteristics and controlling factors of Turkish badlands on a broad, regional scale. We inventoried Turkish badlands using aerial imagery and studied their distribution using K-means clustering, an unsupervised machine learning algorithm, based on a set of major conditional geo-environmental factors that control the regional distribution and characteristics of badlands, including tectonics, lithology, topography, climate, and vegetation. Here, we identified, a total of 4494 km(2) of badland areas which are non-uniformly distributed across Turkey, substantially clustered in the Central Anatolian Plateau (CAP). According to our regional analyses, we have determined a total of five badland regions comprising three major types classified as Semi-arid, Mediterranean, and Montane (humid), together with two transitional types in-between the Semi-arid and Montane badland regions. Our results indicate that temperature seasonality (0.83), mean annual precipitation (0.83), and precipitation seasonality (0.76) are predominantly assigned to the badlands clusters. The clastic rocks are revealed as the most crucial and inevitable factor for the development of Turkish badlands, which are represented in a wide geologic time-scale (Cretaceous to Quaternary) and diverse lithological units (i.e., lacustrine, volcaniclastics, and terrestrial). Neogene and Paleogene terrestrial clastics (77 %) constitute the majority of the litho-logic settings of these badland landscapes. The active and complex tectonic history of Turkey has portrayed the fundamental frame of the identified badland regions, by providing a susceptible environment (i.e., development of sedimentary basins) and promoting badland development through successive base-level changes. Furthermore, tectonically-modulated (i.e., formation of orogenic belts, and uplifting of CAP) climate dynamics outline the distribution pattern and differentiation of the regional characteristics of badlands in Turkey. Overall, our regional-scale approach to badland mapping and regional synthesis may decipher not only the tectonic and climatic conditions of the identified badlands regions, but it may also contribute to the implementation of future effective strategies for the detection and mapping of erosion susceptible and high sediment flux areas in very broad spatial contexts of similar unexplored territories.