Quoting the IU Newsroom:
Indiana University Bloomington geoscience researcher Brian Yanites has been awarded a three-year, $317,663 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how tectonic and climate processes interact to shape the landscape of southern Taiwan.
The research, which includes collaboration with Taiwanese scientists, will expand scientists’ understanding of forces involved in earthquakes, floods and landslides, potentially improving the capacity for preventing or responding to natural disasters.
Yanites said Taiwan is an ideal place to study the interplay of tectonic and climate forces and how they shape the land. It experiences frequent earthquakes, some of them devastating, and an average of four typhoons per year. Its mountains and valleys are prone to erosion and landslides. “Everything is sort of amped up in terms of tectonics and climate,” Yanites said. “There is just so much there, and everything happens so fast.”
The researchers will analyze how the landscape is changing in response to earthquakes, tectonic uplift, rainfall and floods. The work will include measuring the size and shape of river channels, determining how much sediment the rivers can carry and what will cause them to flood. Researchers will also use a process called cosmogenic nuclide analysis, which involves measuring the buildup of rare isotopes in rocks to determine how the landscape has changed in recent and geologic time.