• aeolian;
  • coastal dunefields;
  • luminescence dating;
  • Denmark


Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of sand samples from stabilized (or inactive) coastal dunes in Denmark provides information on the age of the termination phase of the last major aeolian activity period. A total of 26 sand samples were taken from four different coastal dunefields around the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat coasts of Denmark. The OSL dates indicate that the last major phase of aeolian activity terminated between ad 1860 and 1905. Most of the dunes examined in this study were active around 1820, during a period documented to have been very stormy. A dune management scheme started around 1792, and this no doubt was a major cause of dunefield stabilization, but an overall decline of storminess, particularly spring and summer storminess, around the end of the 19th century must also have contributed to the increasing inactivity of coastal dunes. The new OSL dates on aeolian sand movement agree well with historical data and data from topographic maps on dune movement. This agreement supports the observation from earlier work that OSL dating of recent aeolian sand movement is accurate over the last few decades to centuries. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.