Formation and evolution of the Lower Terrace of the Rhine River in the area of Basel

S. Kock, P. Huggenberger, Frank Preusser, P. Rentzel, Alexander Wetzel
the response of fluvial systems to tectonic activity and climate change during the Late Pleistocene influenced sedimentary processes and hence the conditions of river terraces formation. the northern Alpine foreland is well adapted for such studies due to the high sediment input and the variety of depositional environments. this study focuses on sediments of a part of the rhine river in the area of basel, at the border between switzerland, Germany and France. A detailed evolution of the Lower
more » ... rrace is inferred from sedimentological, geomorphologic and pedological observations as well as historical documents, and calibrated using different dating methods (optically stimulated luminescence, uranium series disequilibrium, radiocarbon). the Lower terrace was deposited during two periods (30-15 ka and 13-11 ka), which correlate with two cold climatic phases, representing the Last Glaciation of the Alps and the Younger Dryas. these ages underline that main incision of the Lower terrace braidplain in the area of basel is restricted to post Younger Dryas times, as sediments of that age (13-11 ka) are found atop the highest levels. From then on, a flight of cut-terraces were formed with minor re-accumulation due to Holocene flood events. these findings demonstrate that the surface of a terrace does not always represent the age of sediment aggradation, and this should be remembered when using terraces to reconstruct the tectonic history of an area.
doi:10.48350/36336 fatcat:6jixcjh6zfgsfc2cbiuwx7qwsq