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Assessment of long-term Holocene soil erosion rates in Polish loess areas using sedimentary archives from closed depressions

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Soil erosion is a particularly important problem in the loess areas of Central Europe. Numerous studies of past and present soil erosion based on colluvial sediments have so far been conducted. The main problem is the fact that colluvia usually do not represent the complete sedimentation record. Closed depressions (CDs) collect all colluvial sediments from their catchment, therefore, constitute sediment stores enabling the calculation of soil erosion rates. Colluvial sediments and fossil soils, infilling four CDs in the Polish loess belt, were OSL and C-14 dated. Human settlements near the studied CDs were analyzed. Phases of soil erosion and colluviation from the Neolithic (5400–2900 bc), from the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age (1600–0 bc), and from the Early Middle Ages to Modern Times (500 AD until today) were documented within the CDs studied. Phases of low soil erosion rate and pedogenesis occurred from the Late Vistulian to the Early Neolithic and from the Iron Age to Early Middle Ages. This study reveals that these phases are not synchronous with the soil erosion phases in Central Europe, as the latter mainly occurred in the Bronze Age, Roman Period and Middle Ages. The obtained soil erosion rates were compared with erosion rates in different areas of Central Europe. This study indicates that in loess regions with long-term agricultural land use, mean erosion rates (i.e. 3.7–5.9 t ha-1 yr-1) from the Middle Ages to Modern Times were ten times higher than during the entire prehistoric period (0.39–0.67 t ha-1 yr-1). The mean soil erosion rates for forested CDs was 0.24–0.74 t ha-1 yr-1. Soil erosion phases are most probably caused by human activities (i.e. land use change) but the early Holocene erosion phase (7.96 +/- 0.67 kyr) could have been induced by a climatic fluctuation (e.g. a 8.2 kyr Bond event). Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Tijdschrift: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
ISSN: 0197-9337
Issue: 5
Volume: 43
Pagina's: 978 - 1000
Aantal pagina's: 23
Jaar van publicatie:2018
Trefwoorden:Geowetenschappen en technologie