Freek S. Busschers (e-mail: email@example.com), Department of Paleoclimatology and Geomorphology, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands (present address: TNO Built Environment and Geosciences Geological Survey of The Netherlands, Utrecht, The Netherlands); Ronald T. van Balen and Cees Kasse, Department of Paleoclimatology and Geomorphology, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands; Kim M. Cohen, Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Henk J. T. Weerts, TNO Built Environment and Geosciences Geological Survey of The Netherlands, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Jakob Wallinga, Netherlands Centre for Luminescence Dating (NCL), Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft, The Netherlands; Frans P. M. Bunnik, TNO Built Environment and Geosciences Geological Survey of The Netherlands, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Response of the Rhine–Meuse fluvial system to Saalian ice-sheet dynamics
Article first published online: 14 MAR 2008
© 2008 The Authors, Journal compilation © 2008 The Boreas Collegium
Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 377–398, August 2008
How to Cite
BUSSCHERS, F. S., VAN BALEN, R. T., COHEN, K. M., KASSE, C., WEERTS, H. J. T., WALLINGA, J. and BUNNIK, F. P. M. (2008), Response of the Rhine–Meuse fluvial system to Saalian ice-sheet dynamics. Boreas, 37: 377–398. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2008.00025.x
- Issue published online: 11 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 14 MAR 2008
- received 14th July 2007, accepted 18th December 2007.
A new reconstruction of the interaction between the Saalian Drente glaciation ice margin and the Rhine–Meuse fluvial system is presented based on a sedimentary analysis of continuous core material, archived data and a section in an ice-pushed ridge. Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) was applied to obtain independent age control on these sediments and to establish a first absolute chronology for palaeogeographical events prior to and during the glaciation. We identified several Rhine and Meuse river courses that were active before the Drente glaciation (MIS 11-7). The Drente glaciation ice advance into The Netherlands (OSL-dated to fall within MIS 6) led to major re-arrangement of this drainage network. The invading ice sheet overrode existing fluvial morphology and forced the Rhine–Meuse system into a proglacial position. During deglaciation, the Rhine shifted into a basin in the formerly glaciated area, while the Meuse remained south of the former ice limit, a configuration that persisted throughout most of the Eemian and Weichselian periods. An enigmatic high position of proglacial fluvial units and their subsequent dissection during deglaciation by the Meuse may partially be explained by glacio-isostatic rebound of the area, but primarily reflects a phase of high base level related to a temporary proglacial lake in the southern North Sea area, with lake levels approximating modern sea levels. Our reconstruction indicates that full ‘opening’ of the Dover Strait and lowering of the Southern Bight, enabling interglacial marine exchange between the English Channel and the North Sea, is to be attributed to events during the end of MIS 6.