A complete Late Weichselian and Holocene record of aeolian coversands, drift sands and soils forced by climate change and human impact, Ossendrecht, The Netherlands

C. Kasse, G. Aalbersberg

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A stacked aeolian sequence with intercalated soils is presented from the southern Netherlands, which fully covers the Late Weichselian and Holocene periods. An integrated sedimentological (sedimentary structures, grain size), palynological (pollen) and dating approach (radiocarbon, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL)) was applied to unravel climatic and human forcing factors. The dating results of soils and sediments are compatible, and no large hiatuses between the radiocarbon-dated top of the soils and OSL-dated overlying sands were observed. It is argued that the peaty top of wet-type podzols can be used for reliable radiocarbon dating. This study reveals more phases than previously known of landscape stability (Usselo Soil and two podzol soils) and instability (Younger Coversand I and II, two drift-sand units) that are related to Late Weichselian climate change and Holocene human occupation. Regional aeolian
deposition in source-bordering (river) dunes (Younger Coversand II) took place in the second part of the Younger Dryas, after 12.3 ka cal. BP, implying a delayed response to Younger Dryas cooling, vegetation cover decline and river pattern change of the Scheldt. The onset of podzolisation and development of ericaceous vegetation occurred prior to the introduction of Neolithic farming, which is earlier than previously assumed. Early podzolisation was followed
by a short phase of local drift-sand deposition, at c.5500 cal. BP, that possibly relates to agriculture. Strong human impact on the landscape by deforestation and agriculture resulted in a second phase of widespread drift-sand deposition covering the younger podzol soil after AD 1000.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalNetherlands Journal of Geosciences = Geologie en Mijnbouw
Early online date25 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Hessel Woolderink is thanked for his great help with the figures. John van der Woude constructed the pollen diagrams. The reviews by Harm Jan Pierik and an anonymous reviewer greatly improved the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Allerød – Younger Dryas transition, coarseningupward, aeolian bedding types, heathlands, Middle Ages, podzolisation, source-bordering dunes


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