Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 April 2016
This special issue contains the papers presented during the 2004 DEUQUA meeting. The papers provide an overview of recently carried out Quaternary geological studies on different aspects of the river Rhine system. The introductory paper follows the pathway of the Rhine downstream from its source in the Swiss Alps to the delta in the Netherlands. Along this route geological and geographical factors determine the regional subdivisions of the river: the Alps, the Upper Rhine Graben, the Rhenish Massif, and the Lower Rhine Embayment as part of the southern North Sea Basin. Each of these regions can be typified by a characteristic geological evolution.
New evidence from heavy-mineral analyses provides an improved lithostratigraphy and insight in the Quaternary evolution of the Rhine in the Upper Rhine Graben. The Plio-Pleistocene transition is determined by a palaeomagnetic study. The same paper emphasis on the impact of climate change on the composition of the magneto-mineralogy. Pollen analytical results show a complex interrelationship of a number of Middle Pleistocene interglacial periods in the northern part the Upper Rhine Graben. In the same area geomorphological analysis demonstrates a clear influence of tectonics on the preservation of fluvial terrace accumulations. A detailed pollen analytical study on the Late Glacial and Holocene development of the Rhine in the northern Upper Rhine Graben discusses the relation between vegetation cover and river behaviour. Finally, two papers from the Lower Rhine Embayment discuss a revised provenance based lithostratigraphy and its implications for understanding the fluvial history.
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