Research in loess landscapes provides evidence for the paleoenvironmental settings for past human societies and for the paleoclimate evolution of the past. Archeological and geoscientific investigations must consider different relief settings due to erosion, slope wash, accumulation of sediments and relocation of artifacts. The Lower Rhine Embayment can serve as a blueprint for such research as a typical loess landscape of Central Europe.
Mathias Vinnepand, Peter Fischer, Ulrich Hambach, Olaf Jöris, Carol-Ann Craig, Christian Zeeden, Barry Thornton, Thomas Tütken, Charlotte Prud'homme, Philipp Schulte, Olivier Moine, Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons, Christian Laag, Frank Lehmkuhl, Wolfgang Schirmer, and Andreas Vött
Loess–palaeosol sequences (LPSs) represent continental and non-aquatic archives providing detailed information on Quaternary environmental and climate changes. We present an integrative approach combining sedimentological, rock magnetic, and bulk geochemical data, as well as information on Sr and Nd isotope composition. The approach adds to a comprehensive understanding of LPS formation including changes in dust composition and associated circulation patterns during Quaternary climate changes.
We reconstructed a wetland environment for a late Middle to Upper Pleniglacial (approx. 30–20 ka) loess sequence in western Germany. Typically, these sequences reveal terrestrial conditions with soil formation processes during this time frame. The here-investigated section, however, was influenced by periodical flooding, leading to marshy conditions and a stressed ecosystem. Our results show that the landscape of the study area was much more fragmented during this time than previously thought.
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