Regional distribution and characteristics of major badland landscapes in Turkey

Aydoğan Avcıoğlu*, Tolga Görüm, Abdullah Akbaş, Mariano Moreno-de las Heras, Cengiz Yıldırım, Ömer Yetemen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

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 km2 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 lithologic 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106562
JournalCatena
Volume218
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

Funding

The authors are thankful to editor Arnaud Temme and three anonymous reviewers for their useful and constructive comments. This study is supported by the 2232 International Fellowship for Outstanding Researchers Program of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) through grant 118C329. The financial support received from TUBITAK does not indicate that the content of the publication is approved in a scientific sense by TUBITAK. MMH is a Serra Hunter fellow funded by the Generalitat the Catalunya (UB-LE-9055). The authors thank to Orkan Ozcan, Ali Mohammadi, Serdar Yeşilyurt, Cihan Yıldız, Onur Altınay, and Tunahan Aykut for their support during the fieldworks.

FundersFunder number
Generalitat the CatalunyaUB-LE-9055
Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştırma Kurumu118C329

    Keywords

    • Badlands
    • Erosion
    • K-Means ++ Clustering
    • Landscape
    • Turkey

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