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The application of regional-scale geochemical data in defining the extent of aeolian sediments : the Late Pleistocene loess and coversand deposits of East Anglia, UK

Scheib, Andreas; Lee, Jonathan R.. 2010 The application of regional-scale geochemical data in defining the extent of aeolian sediments : the Late Pleistocene loess and coversand deposits of East Anglia, UK. Quaternary newsletter, 120. 5-14.

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Abstract/Summary

The ‘European Coversand Sheet’ is a discontinuous ‘sheet’ of aeolian (windblown) loess and coversand that extends through eastern and southern England, across the English Channel into northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands (Kasse, 1997; Antoine et al., 2003). Whilst some of the earlier aeolian sediments date from the Middle Pleistocene, most correspond to the Late Pleistocene Weichselian / Devensian and earliest Holocene stages. East Anglia contains considerable accumulations of aeolian sediment. Although several valuable studies have attempted to determine the spatial extent of aeolian material (e.g. Catt, 1977, 1985), defining their margins has proved largely difficult because aeolian material is highly susceptible to reworking and removal by various natural and anthropogenic agents. Within this study, we use regional‐scale geochemical data from soils to reconstruct the extent of aeolian sediments in East Anglia. A specific geochemical signature, defined by elevated concentrations of Hafnium (Hf) and Zirconium (Zr), is strongly characteristic of soils developed on aeolian deposits within the United States, China, Europe and New Zealand (Taylor et al., 1983). The data suggests that the approach is sufficiently sensitive to identify a residual aeolian component within soils even where deposits may be thin and unmappable by conventional methods, or if the material has been largely eroded.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Climate Change Science
Date made live: 18 Jan 2010 14:07
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/9073

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