Stratigraphic interpretation of loess in the marginal zone of the Dnieper I ice sheet and the evolution of its landscape after deglaciation (Dnieper Upland, Ukraine)

Maryna Komar, Maria Łanczont, Stanisław Fedorowicz, Petro Gozhik, Przemysław Mroczek, Andryi Bogucki

Abstract


Litho-, pedo- and palynological analyses constrained by radiometric dating of two loess–palaeosol sequences, Nahirne and Velyka Andrusivka, exposed in a cliff at the eastern edge of the Dnieper Upland, Ukraine, document regional environmental changes in the western marginal zone of the Dnieper lobe. The postglacial loess sedimentation cycle was initiated during MIS 8, immediately after the ice sheet recession. On the basis of palaeorelief analysis, subsequent morphogenetic stages of the original postglacial relief, associated with the modifying and masking role of the loess, and destructive slope processes were reconstructed. Periglacial steppe with consistently present scattered trees formed the Pleistocene landscape in the Middle Dniester area during the last three glacial periods. In such an environment, the following loess beds, correlated with marine isotope stages (MIS), were deposited: Dnieper (dn) – MIS 8, Tyasmyn (ts) – MIS 6, Uday (ud) – MIS 4 and Bug (bg) – MIS 2. During the last two warm periods: Kaydaky (kd) – MIS 7 and Pryluky (pl) – MIS 5, the landscape was not fully forested. As a result, the individual palynological features of these soils show a diverse character. The TL and OSL dates form a sequence with numerous inversions that are difficult to interpret. Although these data do not significantly influence the interpretation, they show that: 1) there are loesses that undoubtedly formed after the maximum extent of the ice sheet by short-distance transport of dust material from local fresh glacial deposits and the underlying Paleogene rocks; 2) date distortions result from the activities of an exceptionally rich pedofauna that has contaminated the material not only in the soil sections of the profile but also in the adjacent loess. It is possible to delimit a few stages of pedofaunal activity in each of the soil units.


Keywords


loess; paleosol; luminescence dating; reconstruction; Pleistocene; Dnieper; Ukraine

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