Sedimentary architecture and chronostratigraphy of a late Quaternary incised-valley fill: A case study of the late Middle and Late Pleistocene Rhine system in the Netherlands
van den Berg, M.W.
This paper describes the sedimentary architecture, chronostratigraphy and palaeogeography of the late Middle and Late Pleistocene (Marine Isotope Stage/MIS 6-2) incised Rhine-valley fill in the central Netherlands based on six geological transects, luminescence dating, biostratigraphical data and a 3D geological model. The incised-valley fill consists of a ca. 50 m thick and 10-20 km wide sand-dominated succession and includes a well-developed sequence dating from the Last Interglacial: known as the Eemian in northwest Europe. The lower part of the valley fill contains coarse-grained fluvio-glacial and fluvial Rhine sediments that were deposited under Late Saalian (MIS 6) cold-climatic periglacial conditions and during the transition into the warm Eemian interglacial (MIS 5e-d). This unit is overlain by fine-grained fresh-water flood-basin deposits, which are transgressed by a fine-grained estuarine unit that formed during marine high-stand. This ca. 10 m thick sequence reflects gradual drowning of the Eemian interglacial fluvial Rhine system and transformation into an estuary due to relative sea-level rise. The chronological data suggests a delay in timing of regional Eemian interglacial transgression and sea-level high-stand of several thousand years, when compared to eustatic sea-level. As a result of this glacio-isostatic controlled delay, formation of the interglacial lower deltaic system took only place for a relative short period of time: progradation was therefore limited. During the cooler Weichselian Early Glacial period (MIS 5d-a) deposition of deltaic sediments continued and extensive westward progradation of the Rhine system occurred. Major parts of the Eemian and Weichselian Early Glacial deposits were eroded and buried as a result of sea-level lowering and climate cooling during the early Middle Weichselian (MIS 4-3). Near complete sedimentary preservation occurred along the margins of the incised valley allowing the detailed reconstruction presented here. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
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GM - Geomodelling
ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences
Geological Survey Netherlands
Quaternary Science Reviews, 131, 211-236