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Journal Article

Loess in Europe - mass accumulation rates during the Last Glacial Period


Kohfeld,  K. E.
Research Group Paleo-Climatology, Dr. S. P. Harrison, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Frechen, M., Oches, E. A., & Kohfeld, K. E. (2003). Loess in Europe - mass accumulation rates during the Last Glacial Period. Quaternary Science Reviews, 22(18-19), 1835-1857.

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Upper Pleistocene loess/palaeosol sequences provide excellent high-resolution terrestrial archives of climate forcing. Due to improvements in numerical age determinations, especially in luminescence dating methods, a more reliable time-based reconstruction of the past climate and environmental change has become available for the loess record in Europe. Chronological information was collected from 43 sites along a northwest to southeast transect in Europe. Thirty-three of these sites had sufficient age information to allow estimation of mass accumulation rates, and it was possible to isolate the mass accumulation rates of primary loess during the Last Glacial Period (similar tO28-13 ka BP) at 21 of these locations. These sites fall along a coarse climatic gradient from the relatively coastal climate of Belgium and France to the drier, more continental climate of Central Europe. Interpreting mass accumulation rates of loess in terms of this climatic gradient is not straightforward as these deposits are dominated by sources in floodplains and large river systems. Thus accumulation rates are influenced strongly by regional wind and precipitation patterns, but mostly by the availability of glacially derived material from the Alps and the periglacial terrains that characterized European fluvial systems during and immediately following glaciation. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.