Erosion and accumulation phases during the last glacial-interglacial cycle: a case study of the terrace system of the Odra and Osobłoga rivers (southern Poland)

Krzysztof Jan Wójcicki, Halina Pawelec, Ireneusz Malik, Beata Woskowicz-Ślęzak, Piotr Moska


In the Odra and Osobłoga River valleys in the vicinity of the town of Krapkowice, a system of morphological levels is present which is exceptionally extensive compared to other such systems in southern Poland. The extent, origins and chronology of these levels have been the subject of many controversies. In the light of current research, the terraces, which are situated on average 14.5–13, 12–10, 8–6, 6–4 and 3–1 metres above the river level, were formed in the post-Wartanian interval. The main factor driving their development was erosion, which compensated for the effects of large-scale aggradation that had occurred during the anaglacial phase of the Odranian Glaciation (MIS 8) dated to 261 ±15 ka. The impact of climatic conditions on the trends towards fluvial erosion or accumulation was only of secondary importance. According to OSL dating, successive phases of vertical stabilisation of the valley floor occurred ~118.8 ±8.3, 87.7 ±5.7 and 42.0 ±2.0 ka. In the meantime, erosion intensified, which resulted in the formation of lower terrace levels. During the climatic minimum of the Upper Plenivistulian (21.5 ±1.5 ka), under conditions of the delivery of sheet-wash-generated sediment, the aggradation of distal reaches of the Odra River valley was locally marked. During the Late Vistulian and Holocene, erosive tendencies continued, which were reflected by the fact that the surfaces of subsequent inset alluvial fills were situated ever lower. In the light of dating results, it can be concluded that during the colder periods correlated with the Rederstall Stadial (MIS 5b) and with the Hasselo Stadial (MIS 3), a braided river was present in the river valleys examined, which was most probably accompanied by permafrost. During the Eemian Interglacial (MIS 5e), during the Late Vistulian Interstadials and in the Holocene, it was a meandering river.


fluvial processes; river terraces; Late Quaternary; OSL; southern Poland

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