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Environmental conditions and paleowind directions at the end of the Weichselian Late Pleniglacial recorded in aeolian sediments and geomorphology (Twente, Eastern Netherlands)

  • Ko (J.) van Huissteden (a1), Jacques C.G. Schwan (a2) and Mark D. Bateman (a3)

Abstract

The Late weichselian Pleniglacial wind regime in the eastern Netherlands is reconstructed by means of landform and sedimentological analysis. This analysis involves aeolian and fluvial landforms in the Dinkel river valley in the Twente region. The aeolian deposits considered here date from the Last Glacial Maximum (approximately 22 ka) to the start of the Belling Interstadial at 14.7 ka.

A major event in this period is the formation of a cryoturbation level caused by permafrost degradation, overlain by an erosional hiatus dated between 21 and 17 ka. Both features are attributed to a period of warmer and moister climate, causing permafrost degradation and erosion by surficial runoff. Thereafter aeolian activity prevailed under relatively arid conditions. A deflation surface was formed, the Beuningen Gravel Bed. This deflation surface is present in many Weichselian sections in the Netherlands and the adjacent parts of Belgium and Germany. The deflation occurred concurrently with deposition of coversand at other places.

The morphology of the coversand-landscape in the Dinkel valley was controlled by the relief of the pre-existing floodplain and the wind pattern. Coversand ridges consisting of low dunes accumulated near the margins of the active channel belt. Relatively thick sand sheets occur in the leesides of the ridges, thin sand sheets are found at greater distance.

Mainly westerly sand-transporting winds operated during winter and summer. In winter aeolian deposition occurred by frequent and strong easterly winds also. On the smallest, local scale, the pattern of deposition was determined by the topography and moisture of the receiving surface.

Coversand deposition came to an end with the formation of a sand sheet under relatively warm and less arid conditions. Coversand deposition continued into the Belling Interstadial; colonization of the coversand surface by vegetation probably has been delayed by nutrient-poor conditions.

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References

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