Timing of gully development in a structurally controlled badland landscape, western Turkey

S. Aksay*, J.M. Schoorl, A. Versendaal, J. Wallinga, D. Maddy, T. van der Schriek, T. Demir, A.S. Aytaç, A. Veldkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The development of badlands at a global scale has become an increasingly relevant research topic in various earth science disciplines with respect to climate change and extensive erosion over the past few decades. Not only understanding badland forming processes but also investigating the potential causes and timing of badlands at a spatio-temporal scale is of great importance to unravel the genesis of badlands. To address these key aspects, this work focuses on a multi-method study in a Mediterranean badland landscape, Kula Badlands, western Turkey, exposed in two tributary catchments of the Gediz river. The Kula Badlands is recognised with its dense gully network deeply incised into fine grain and weakly consolidated Miocene and Quaternary sediments. These badlands are known to have developed within the extensional tectonic regime of a mini-graben system. However, the genesis, timing and incision history of the gully and badland development of the Kula Badlands require further investigation. In this work, timing and behaviour of gully erosion and sedimentation are studied with age control using appropriate luminescence and radiocarbon dating methods combined with geological and geomorphological observations. Sedimentation pattern and age results demonstrate a staircase-like form resembling river terraces in badland gullies. Sediment burial ages of badland deposits show an estimated age range of 140 ka to 0.5 ka. An accelerated incision is observed during the mid-Holocene with alternating erosion and sedimentation waves in response to upstream erosion. This period coincides with increased human activity in the area. Although, an apparent link between the timing of the preserved deposition and climate change could not be observed. A volcanic damming and subsequent breaching, and an interplay between tectonics and climate are likely to have triggered and accelerated the badland erosion and sedimentation activity within the spatial gully network pattern along the fault lines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107616
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Badland development
  • Luminescence dating
  • Quaternary landscape evolution
  • Structural control


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