The impact of postglacial palaeoenvironmental changes on the properties of sediments in the kettle hole at the site of Jurki (NE Poland)

Tomasz Mirosław Karasiewicz, Piotr Hulisz, Agnieszka M. Noryśkiewicz, Renata Stachowicz-Rybka, Adam Michalski, Michał Dąbrowski, Wojciech W. Gamrat


This research is focused on a small kettle hole located within the Morąg moraines (Iława Lake District, NE Poland). The study objective was to determine the impact of palaeoenvironmental changes in sedimentation and properties of sediments filling the bottom of the kettle hole. Sedimentological, geochemical, and palaeobotanical studies enabled us to distinguish several development phases of the kettle hole, and cluster analysis performed on physicochemical data yielded seven local geochemical zones (JuI/I to JuI/VII). The beginning of biogenic sedimentation in the conditions of a small water body, functioning in the Late Glacial period (4.20–4.10 m), was determined on the basis of palaeobotanical research. Sediments deposited in the lake during its further evolution were rich in microelements such as Ca, Na, Mg, and K, and to a smaller extent – Fe and Mn (JuI/I–III local geochemical zones). The Late Glacial lacustrine period ended with the accumulation of very silty, pollen-free gyttja, with a stratigraphic hiatus (JuI/IV, 3.40–3.20 m). The sediments were enriched with SiO2ter, which indicates an increased rate of slope erosion, and concretions of Fe-Mn occurring below this layer (JuIII) provide evidence for lowering of the water level and even desiccation. In the Holocene, the lacustrine period ended with the accumulation of coarse detrital gyttja (3.20–2.60 m). Palaeobotanical data indicate that the next group of sediments were deposited in the Late Subboreal and Subatlantic periods (2.60–0.0 cm, JuI/V–VII; sedge peat). Their properties were varied and related to hydrologic conditions, limited denudation, and vegetation succession. There was also a significant change in the trophic conditions of the water and consequently in the sediments of the kettle hole, which changed during the lacustrine period from basic to acid, and strongly acid in the surface layer. This reaction may be related to a change in the water regime as well as to human impact in the environment, which led to the colonization of the peat bog by Sphagnum moss.


young glacial landscape; kettle hole; end moraines; geochemical analysis; biogenic deposits

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