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Geomorphology and Stratigraphy of Aeolian Dunes in the Alpine Northwest Foreland

English title Geomorphology and Stratigraphy of Aeolian Dunes in the Alpine Northwest Foreland
Applicant Heer Aleksandra Joanna
Number 118749
Funding scheme Marie Heim-Voegtlin grants
Research institution Geographisches Institut Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Geomorphology
Start/End 01.02.2008 - 31.01.2010
Approved amount 150'677.00
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All Disciplines (6)

Discipline
Geomorphology
Geology
Palaeontology
Geochemistry
Geophysics
Geochronology

Keywords (6)

aeolian dunes; OSL-Dating; quaternary geochronolgy; climate change; Alpine Foreland; landscape evolution

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Aeolian dunes are known from different areas in the depositional river plains of the northwest Alpine foreland: Rhine Valley, Swiss Plateau, Lower Wallis Valley and south of Lake Geneva. The origin of the dunes is not clearly known. The assumptions about their age vary between pre-Alleröd and early Holocene. Evidence for human settlement exists from at least the Mesolithic period. The soils frequently show disturbed structures suggesting repeated denudation and reactivation. The stratigraphy of the dunes is unknown and, before the development of OSL dating, a suitable tool for absolute age determination of the terrestrial sedimentary archive was absent. Using a combination of field prospecting, soil geochemistry, pollen and microfossils, together with numerical dating methods (OSL and 14C), this project will provide new information about the dune history and contribute towards understanding the landscape evolution and paleoecology of the northwest Alpine foreland since the last postglacial. Special locations, e.g. the crossing points of the Aare River palaeochannels with aeolian dunes (as recognised in the Grosses Moos/Swiss Plateau), allow the direct correlation of 14C and OSL dating methods, which is important for further applications of OSL dating on late Quaternary deposits in the Alpine area. The results of this project will offer an insight into a poorly known sequence of postglacial landscape evolution in the northwest Alpine foreland and offer an important new methodological contribution towards further applications of OSL dating in the northwest Alps and their foreland.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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