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Progressive incision of the Channeled Scablands by outburst floods

The surfaces of Earth and Mars contain large bedrock canyons that were carved by catastrophic outburst floods. Reconstructing the magnitude of these canyon-forming floods is essential for understanding the ways in which floods modify planetary surfaces, the hydrology of early Mars and abrupt changes in climate. Flood discharges are often estimated by assuming that the floods filled the canyons to their brims with water; however, an alternative hypothesis is that canyon morphology adjusts during incision such that bed shear stresses exceed the threshold for erosion by a small amount.
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