Landscape dynamics revealed by luminescence signals of feldspars from fluvial terraces

Stéphane Bonnet*, Tony Reimann, Jakob Wallinga, Dimitri Lague, Philippe Davy, Aurélien Lacoste

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Luminescence signals of quartz and feldspar minerals are widely used to determine the burial age of Quaternary sediments. Although luminescence signals bleach rapidly with sunlight exposure, incomplete bleaching may affect luminescence ages, in particular in fluvial settings where an unbleached remnant signal is commonly encountered in modern alluvium. Here, we use feldspar single-grain post-infrared IR stimulation (pIRIR) dating to show that recent (<11 ka) fluvial terraces of the Rangitikei River (New Zealand) were formed in a context of non-linear incision rate. We relate this pattern to the rapid reinstatement of steady-state incision following the formation of a major, climate-driven, aggradation terrace, causing a phase of accelerated incision. In addition, we show systematic variations in the proportion of unbleached grains in the fluvial sediments over time, mirroring incision rate at the time of deposition. Deposits formed during rapid incision contain fewer bleached grains, which we attribute to large input of unbleached material and limited bleaching opportunities during fluvial transport. This finding demonstrates that the luminescence signals recorded in fluvial terraces not only yield age information, but also inform us on past fluvial transport and ultimately, landscape dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8569
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2019

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