What was the interglacial river like? Sedimentological investigation of Holsteinian fluvial deposits in eastern Poland

Tomasz Zieliński, Sławomir Terpiłowski, Paweł Zieliński, Irena A. Pidek, Anna Godlewska, Piotr Czubla


Holsteinian fluvial deposits in the Samica River valley in eastern Poland have been studied, in an approximately 12-m-thick succession filling palaeochannels and comprising sandy channel facies succeeded by a package of gyttja, peat and silt deposited in oxbow. Channel belts including palaeochannel fills cut into outwash sands and are overlain by diamictic sands reworked by solifluction under periglacial conditions. Sedimentological and palynological investigations in combination allowed the recognition of glacial and interglacial deposits. The channel belt was formed by a typical sand-bed, meandering river with deposition controlled by abundant point bars. The sedimentary evolution of the Samica valley is interpreted in the context of the glacial-interglacial cycle. Valley-scale erosion and change of river style from braided to meandering occurred coevally with the decay of an ice sheet (deglaciation) and the main phase of meandering river sedimentation is attributed to latest Elsterian and early Holsteinian. The next part of the interglacial, from pioneer stage to established temperate conditions, is recorded in a biogenic oxbow-lake fill. The succession studied has been compared with published data on the European fluvial deposits of Middle Pleistocene interglacials. It is pointed out here that river channel patterns in western and eastern Europe differed. Based on this observation, some general hypotheses regarding the continental-scale climatic distinctness are put forward.


sedimentology, meandering river, palaeoclimate, Pleistocene, MIS 11, Poland

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