Source-bordering aeolian dune formation along the Scheldt River (southern Netherlands – northern Belgium) was caused by Younger Dryas cooling, high river gradient and southwesterly summer winds

C Kasse, Hessel Woolderink, Marjan Kloos, Wim Hoek

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Abstract

The Younger Dryas cold period caused major changes in vegetation and depositional environments. This study focuses on the aeolian river-connected dunes along the former, Weichselian Late Glacial, course of the Scheldt River in the southern Netherlands. Aeolian dunes along the Scheldt have received little attention, as they are partly covered by Holocene peat and marine deposits. The spatial distribution of the dunes is reconstructed by DEM analysis and coring transects. Dunes are present on the high eastern bank of the Scheldt and in the subsurface of the polder area west of the Brabantse Wal escarpment. A reach-specific higher channel gradient probably caused a channel pattern change from meandering to braiding during the Younger Dryas. This enabled deflation from the braid plain and accumulation in source-bordering river dunes east of the incised and terraced, subsurface late Pleistocene Scheldt valley. The age of the dune formation is established by pollen analysis and radiocarbon dating of underlying and overlying peat beds. The peat layer below the dune at Zomerbaan is attributed to the Allerød and early Younger Dryas periods. Dune formation occurred predominantly during the second part of the Younger Dryas stadial, both on and in front (west) of the Brabantse Wal escarpment. Wind direction was reconstructed by geomorphic analysis and sedimentary structures on lacquer peels. A southwesterly wind direction is demonstrated by the parabolic dune morphology. For the first time Younger Dryas wind direction is reconstructed based on adhesion ripple cross-laminated sets on lacquer peels. Sand-transporting south-southwesterly winds were dominant during the Younger Dryas, most likely during summer.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalNetherlands Journal of Geosciences = Geologie en Mijnbouw
Volume99
Early online date25 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • adhesion ripple bedding, Allerød-Younger Dryas transition, braided system, drowned palaeovalley, parabolic river dunes, pollen analysis

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