Subsurface deformation is a driver for river path selection when deformation rates become comparable to the autogenic mobility rate of rivers. Here we combine geomorphology, soil and sediment facies analyses, and geophysical data of the Late Quaternary sediments of the central Garo-Rajmahal Gap in Northwest Bengal to link subsurface deformation with surface processes. We show variable sedimentation characteristics, from slow rates ('0.8 mm/year) in the Tista megafan at the foot of the Himalaya to nondeposition at the exposed surface of the Barind Tract to the south, enabling the development of mature soils. Combined subsidence in the Tista fan and uplift of the Barind Tract are consistent with a N-S flexural response of the Indian plate to loading of the Himalaya Mountains given a low value of elastic thickness (15–25 km). Provenance analysis based on bulk strontium concentration suggests a dispersal of sediment consistent with this flexural deformation—in particular the abandonment of the Barind Tract by a Pleistocene Brahmaputra River and the current extents of the Tista megafan lobes. Overall, these results highlight the control by deeply rooted deformation patterns on the routing of sediment by large rivers in foreland settings.
- sediment routing