An OSL dated Middle and Late Quaternary sedimentary record in the Roer Valley Graben (southeastern Netherlands)

Jeroen Schokker*, Piet Cleveringa, Andrew S. Murray, Jakob Wallinga, Wim E. Westerhoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Well-dated terrestrial sedimentary sequences are important to evaluate the influence of Quaternary climate change on continental landscape evolution. The Roer Valley Graben (southeastern Netherlands) contains a 35 m thick sedimentary record of Middle and Late Quaternary fluvial, aeolian and organic deposits. Sediment provenance, depositional processes and the continuity and timing of deposition were reconstructed. Sedimentary and geochemical data reveal a change from a fluvial depositional environment to a dominance of aeolian deposits. This change may be related to increased tectonic uplift and the onset of large-scale volcanism in the Ardennes-Eifel region between 800 and 500 ka. The main source of aeolian sediments are Quaternary Rhine deposits that crop out to the northwest of the study area. Sedimentation and preservation in the Roer Valley Graben took place under humid surface conditions. These conditions occurred: (1) in a periglacial climate with permafrost; (2) at the transition from a warm-temperate to a cool climate. Dates from two internally consistent quartz Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) age series in the Roer Valley Graben correspond well with the ages of related terrace deposits in the orbitally tuned Meuse river terrace flight. The OSL dates confirm the presence of organic deposits reflecting Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 9 or 11 and MIS 5e. This long terrestrial sequence thus provides input for the fragmentary Middle Pleistocene record of northwestern Europe and forms a possible link between the glacial history of northern Europe and the long lake and loess records of eastern and southern Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2243-2264
Number of pages22
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number20-21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

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