The magnitude of soil and sediment erosion and accumulation processes can profoundly affect landscape development and hamper efficient management of natural resources. Consequently, estimating the rates and causes of these processes is essential, particularly in remote regions, for prediction of changes in landform and river evolution and protection of local ecosystem. We here present the results of a soil and sediment erosion investigation in the Source Area of the Yellow River (SAYR), northeast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau based on a combined analysis of 10 Be cosmogenic isotope and Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) simulation modelling. The data reveal variable soil erosion trends that range between 103 and 830 t km −2 a −1 . The low values occur in the western part of the basin that are associated with low sediment yield, while the high values appear in the dominant sediment export part of the basin along the main stream of the Yellow River in the east. Generally, soil and sediment accumulation is characterized by high 10 Be concentration in the western part and the northwest of Ngöring Lake. The style of landform development by the erosion/accumulation processes is closely linked to the distribution and degradation extent of the permafrost in the study region. Soil surface erosion increases with more permafrost degradation from the western to the eastern part of the basin, and surface soil particles are dominantly removed from the surface rather than deeper layers.