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HAYAKAWA, Ericson H.  and  ROSSETTI, Dilce F.. Late quaternary dynamics in the Madeira river basin, southern Amazonia (Brazil), as revealed by paleomorphological analysis. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2015, vol.87, n.1, pp.29-49. ISSN 0001-3765.

Ancient drainage systems are being increasingly documented in the Amazon basin and their characterization is crucial for reconstructing fluvial evolution in this area. Fluvial morphologies, including elongate belts, are well preserved along the Madeira River. Digital Elevation Model from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission favored the detection of these features even where they are covered by dense rainforest. These paleomorphologies are attributed to the shifting position of past tributaries of the Madeira River through avulsions. These radial paleodrainage networks produced fan-shaped morphologies that resemble distributary megafans. Distinguishing avulsive tributary systems from distributary megafans in the sedimentary record is challenging. Madeira´s paleodrainage reveals the superposition of tributary channels formed by multiple avulsions within a given time period, rather than downstream bifurcation of coexisting channels. Channel avulsion in this Amazonian area during the late Quaternary is related to tectonics due to features as: (i) straight lineaments coincident with fault directions; (ii) northeastward tilting of the terrain with Quaternary strata; and (iii) several drainage anomalies, including frequent orthogonal drainage inflections. These characteristics altogether lead to propose that the radial paleodrainage present at the Madeira River margin results from successive avulsions of tributary channels over time due to tectonics.

Keywords : paleochannels; Amazon Basin; Madeira river; remote sensing; climate; tectonics.

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