The majority of sediment transport to the world's oceans is routed via large deltas. We examine controls on delta apex location using a database of 84 of the world's largest deltas. Of the dataset, 94% of apices are controlled by either bedrock valleys (80%) or Pleistocene alluvial valleys (14%), suggesting that the principal control on modern apex development is valley exit and/or bedslope-mediated avulsion and not hydrodynamic backwater length. Valley exit control on large delta apex location may have been as important in the rock record as it is today, and should be considered as a key control on delta development.
Supplementary material: Tabulated data on backwater length and apex type for studied deltas available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3469770
- Received December 3, 2015.
- Revision received July 22, 2016.
- Accepted August 10, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)