Depositional conditions on an alluvial fan at the turn of the Weichselian to the Holocene – a case study in the Żmigród Basin, southwest Poland

Open access


Presented are the results of research into the fluvio-aeolian sedimentary succession at the site of Postolin in the Żmigród Basin, southwest Poland. Based on lithofacies analysis, textural analysis, Thermoluminescence and Infrared-Optical Stimulated Luminescence dating and GIS analysis, three lithofacies units were recognised and their stratigraphic succession identified: 1) the lower unit was deposited during the Pleni-Weichselian within a sand-bed braided river functioning under permafrost conditions within the central part of the alluvial fan; 2) the middle unit is the result of aeolian deposition and fluvial redeposition on the surface of the fan during long-term permafrost and progressive decrease of humidity of the climate at the turn of the Pleni- to the Late Weichselian; 3) the upper unit accumulated following the development of longitudinal dunes at the turn of the Late Weichselian to the Holocene; the development of dunes was interrupted twice by the form being stabilised by vegetation and soil development.

Antczak-Górka, B., 2007. Zróżnicowanie populacji głazów eolizowanych w różnowiekowych strefach peryglacjalnych Polski Zachodniej [Variability of populations of wind-polished stones in periglacial zones of various ages in western Poland]. Badania Fizjograficzne nad Polską Zachodnią 61, 9-29 (In Polish with English abstract).

Bagnold, R.A., 1954. The physics of blown sand and desert dunes. Methuen, London, 265 pp.

Blair, T.C. & McPherson, J.G. 2009. Processes and Forms of Alluvial Fans. [In:] A.J. Parsons & A.D. Abrahams (Eds), Geomorphology of Desert Environments. Springer, 413-467.

Bohncke, S., Kasse, C. & Vandenberghe, J., 1995. Climate induced environmental changes during the Vistulian Lateglacial at Żabinko, Poland. Quaestiones Geographicae, Special Issue 4, 43-64.

Bos, J.A.A., Bohncke, S.J.P., Kasse, C. & Vandenberghe, J.

2001. Vegetation and climate during the Weichselian Early Glacial and Pleniglacial in the Niederlausitz, eastern Germany - macrofossil and pollen evidence. Journal of Quaternary Science 16, 269-289.

Bristow, C.S., Balley, S.D. & Lancaster, N., 2000. The sedimentary structure of linear sand dunes. Nature 406 (6791), 56-59.

Cailleux, A., 1942. Les actions eoliennes periglaciaires en Europe. Mémoire de la Societé Géologique de France 46, 1-176.

Cant, D.J. & Walker, R.G., 1976. Development of a braided- fluvial facies model for the Devonian Battery Point Sandstone, Quebec. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 13, 102-119.

Cant, D.J. & Walker, R.G., 1978. Fluvial processes and facies sequences In the sandy braided South Saskatchewan River, Canada. Sedimentology 25, 625-648.

Collinson, J.D., 1986. Alluvial sediments. [In:] H.G. Reading (Ed.): Sedimentary Environments and Facies. Blackwell, 20-62.

Fedorowicz, S., 2006. Methodological aspects of luminescence dating of Central Europe’s Neopleistocene deposits. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego, Gdańsk, 156 pp.

Folk, R.L. & Ward, W.C., 1957. Brazos River bar. A study in the significance of grain size parameters. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 27, 3-26.

French, H.M., 2007. The Periglacial Environment. Third Edition. Wiley, Chichester, 478 pp.

Galon, R., 1959. New investigations of inland dunes in Poland. Przegląd Geograficzny 31, Suppl., 93-110.

Ghazi, S. & Mountney, N.P., 2009. Facies and architectural element analysis of a meandering fluvial succession: The Permian Warchha Sandstone, Salt Range, Pakistan. Sedimentary Geology 221, 99-126.

Good, T.R. & Bryant, I.D., 1985. Fluvio-eolian sedimentation - an example from Banks Island. N.W.T., Canada. Geografiska Annaler 67A, 33-46.

Goździk, J., 1980. Zastosowanie morfometrii i graniformametrii do badań osadów w kopalni węgla brunatnego Bełchatów. Studia Regionalne 4(9), 101-114.

Guiter, F., Andrieu-Ponel, V., de Beaulieu, J.L., Cheddadi, R., Calvez, M., Ponel, P., Reille, M., Keller, T. & Goeury, C., 2003. The last climatic cycles in western Europe: a comparison between long continuous lacustrine sequences from France and other terrestrial records. Quaternary International 111, 59-74.

Hack J.T., 1941. Dunes of the Western Navajo Country. Geographical Review 31, 240-263.

Huijzer, A.S. & Isarin, R.F.B., 1997. The reconstruction of past climates using multi-proxy evidence: an example of the Weichselian pleniglacial in northwest and central Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews 16, 513-533.

Huijzer, B. & Vandenberghe, J., 1998. Climatic reconstruction of the Weichselian Pleniglacial in northwestern and Central Europe. Journal of Quaternary Science 13, 391-417.

Hunter, R.E., 1977. Basic types of stratification in small eolian dunes. Sedimentology 24, 361- 387.

Isarin, R.F.B., Renssen, H. & Koster, E.A., 1997. Surface wind climate during the Younger Dryas in Europe as inferred from aeolian records and model simulations. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 134, 127-48.

Kasse, C., 1997. Cold-climate aeolian sand-sheet formation in north-western Europe (c. 14-12.4 ka); a response to permafrost degradation and increased aridity. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 8, 295-311.

Kasse, C. 2002. Sandy aeolian deposits and environments and their relation to climate during the Last Glacial Maximum and Lateglacial in northwest and central Europe. Progress in Physical Geography 26, 507-532.

Kasse, C., Huijzer, A.S, Krzyszkowski, D., Bohncke, S.J.P. & Coope, G.R., 1998. Weichselian Late Pleniglacial and Late-glacial depositional environments, Coleoptera and periglacial climatic records from central Poland (Bełchatów). Journal of Quaternary Science 13, 455-469.

Kasse, C., Vandenberghe, J., van Huissteden, J., Bohncke, S.J.P. & Bos, J.A.A., 2003. Sensitivity of Weichselian fluvial systems to climate change (Nochten mine, eastern Germany). Quaternary Science Reviews 22, 2141-2156.

Kasse, C., Vandenberghe, D., DeCorte, F. & Vandenhaute, P., 2007. Late Weichselian fluvio-aeolian sands and coversands of the type locality Grubbenvorst (southern Netherlands): sedimentary environments, climate record and age. Journal of Quaternary Science 22, 695-708.

Kocurek, G. & Fielder, G., 1982. Adhesion structures. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 52, 1229-1241.

Kolstrup, E., 2007. Lateglacial older and younger coversand in northwest Europe: chronology and relation to climate and vegetation. Boreas 36, 65-75.

Koster, E.A., 1988. Ancient and modern cold-climate aeolian sand deposition: a review. Journal of Quaternary Science 3, 69-83.

Kozarski, S., 1995. The periglacial impact on the deglaciated area of northern Poland after 20 kyr BP. Biuletyn Peryglacjalny 34, 73-102.

Kozarski, S., & Nowaczyk, B., 1995. The Bølling interstadial at Æabinko and Late Vistulian environmental changes in middle reach of the Warsaw-Berlin Pradolina. Quaternary Studies in Poland 13, 43-53.

Krumbein, W.C., 1941. Measurement and geological significance of shape and roundness of sedimentary particles. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 11, 64-72.

Krüger, J., 1997. Development of minor outwash fans at Kötlujökull, Iceland. Quaternary Science Reviews 16, 649-659.

Krzyszkowski, D., Gizler, H., Jodłowski, J. & Dobosz, T., 1999. Quaternary geology and geomorphology in the zone of the maximum extent of the Weichselian icesheet between Sława Śląska and Święciechowa, western Poland. Quaternary Studies in Poland 16, 47-66.

Lancaster, N., 1980. The formation of seif dunes from barchans - supporting evidence for Bagnold’s model from the Namib Desert. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie N.F., 24, 160-167.

Lancaster N., 1995. Geomorphology of desert dunes. Routledge, London, 244 pp.

Landsberg, S.Y., 1956. The orientation of dunes in Britain and Denmark in relation to wind. Geographical Journal 122, 176-189.

Lea, P.D., 1990. Pleistocene periglacial aeolian deposits in southwestern Alaska: sedimentary facies and depositional processes. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 60, 582-591.

Lewkowicz, A.G. & Young, K.L., 1991. Observations of aeolian transport and niveoaeolian deposition at three lowland sites, Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 2, 197-210.

McKee, E.D. & Tibbits, G.C., 1964. Primary structures of a seif dune and associated deposits in Libya. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 34, 5-17.

Meinsen, J., Winsemann, J., Roskosch, J., Brandes, C., Frechen, M., Dultz, S. & Böttcher, J., 2014. Climate control on the evolution of Late Pleistocene alluvial-fan and aeolian sand-sheet systems in NW Germany. Boreas 43, 42-66.

Miall, A.D., 1996. The Geology of Fluvial Deposits. Sedimentary Facies, Basin Analysis, and Petroleum Geology. Springer, Berlin, 582 pp.

Mol, J., 1997. Fluvial response to Weichselian climate changes in the Niederlausitz (Germany). Journal of Quaternary Science 12, 43-60.

Mol, J., Vandenberghe, J. & Kasse, C., 2000. River response to variations of periglacial climate in mid-latitude Europe. Geomorphology 33, 131-148.

Molodkow, A. & Bitinas, A., 2006. Sedimentary record and luminescence chronology of Lateglacial and Holocene Aeolian sediments in Lithuania. Boreas 35, 244-254.

Murton, J.B. & Belshaw, R.K., 2011. A conceptual model of valley incision, planation and terrace formation during cold and arid permafrost conditions of Pleistocene southern England. Quaternary Research 75, 385-394.

Mycielska-Dowgiałło, E. & Ludwikowska-Kędzia, M., 2011. Alternative interpretations of grain-size data from Quaternary deposits. Geologos 17, 189-203.

Mycielska-Dowgiałło, E. & Woronko, B., 1998. Analiza obtoczenia i zmatowienia powierzchni ziarn kwarcowych frakcji piaszczystej i jej wartość interpretacyjna [Rounding and frosting analysis of the sand quartz grains surface and its interpretative value]. Przegląd Geologiczny 46, 1275-1281.

Mycielska-Dowgiałło, E. & Woronko, B., 2004. The degree of aeolization of Quaternary deposits in Poland as a tool for stratigraphic interpretation. Sedimentary Geology 168, 149-163.

Nowaczyk, B., 1986. Wiek wydm, ich cechy granulometryczne i strukturalne a schemat cyrkulacji atmosferycznej w Polsce w późnym vistulianie i holocenie [The age of dunes, their textural and structural properties against atmospheric circulation pattern of Poland during the Late Vistulian and Holocene]. Seria Geografia 28. Poznań, 245 pp. (in Polish).

Pernarowski, L., 1950/51. Zastosowanie metody statystycznej w analizie form wydmowych znad dolnego Bobru [Statistical method application in analysis of dunes in lower Bóbr area]. Czasopismo Geograficzne 21/22, 372-387 (in Polish).

Pernarowski, L., 1958. Z badań nad wydmami Dolnego Śląska [Studies of Lower Silesian dunes]. [In:] Galon, R. (Ed.) Wydmy śródlądowe Polski [Inland dunes in Poland]. PWN, Warszawa, 171-199 (in Polish).

Pernarowski, L., 1959. O procesie sortowania piasków eolicznych na przykładzie wydm okolic Rzędzowa [On aeolian sorting of sand: example from dunes of Rzędzew region]. Czasopismo Geograficzne 30, 33-60 (in Polish).

Renssen, H. & Isarin, R.F.B., 2001. The two major warning phases of the last deglaciation at f14.7 and f11.5 kyr cal BP in Europe: climate reconstructions and AGCM experiments. Global and Planetary Change 30, 117- 153.

Renssen, H., Goosse, H. & Fichefet, T., 2007. Simulation of Holocene cooling events in a coupled climate model. Quaternary Science Reviews 26, 2019-2029.

Ridgway, K.D. & DeCelles, P.G., 1993. Stream-dominated alluvial fan and lacustrine depositional systems in Cenozoic strike-slip basins, Denali fault system, Yukon Territory, Canada. Sedimentology 40, 645-666.

Rinterknecht, V.R., Clark, P.U., Raisbeck, G.M., Yiou, F., Brook, E.J., Bitinas, A., Marks, L., Zelcs, V., Lunkka, J.P., Pavlovskaya, I.E., Piotrowski, J.A. & Raukas, A., 2006. The last deglaciation of the southeastern sector of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet. Science 311, 1449-1452.

Roskosch, J., Tsukamoto, S., Meinsen, J., Frechen, M. & Winsemann, J., 2012. Luminescence dating of an Upper Pleistocene alluvial fan and aeolian sandsheet unit: the Senne in the Münsterland Embayment, NW Germany. Quaternary Geochronology 10, 94-101.

Schokker, J. & Koster, E.A., 2004. Sedimentology and Facies Distribution of Pleistocene Cold-climate Aeolian and Fluvial Deposits in the Roer Valley Graben (Southeastern Netherlands). Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 15, 1-20.

Schwan, J., 1988. The structure and genesis of Weichselian to Early Holocene aeolian sand sheets in western Europe. Sedimentary Geology 55, 197-232.

Seppälä, M., 2004. Wind as a geomorphic agent in cold climates. Cambridge University Press, 368 pp.

Shiklomanov, N.I. & Nelson, F.E., 2007. Active layer processes. [In:] S.A. Elias (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, vol. 3. Elsevier, 2138-2147.

Smith, N.D., 1970. The braided stream depositional environment: comparison of the Platte River with some Silurian clastic rocks, North-Central Appalachians. Geological Society of America Bulletin 81, 2993-3014.

Szczepankiewicz, S., 1959. Dolina Odry między Wrocławiem i Brzegiem Dolnym [The Odra valley between Wrocław and Brzeg Dolny]. Czasopismo Geograficzne 30, 263-286 (in Polish).

Szczepankiewicz, S., 1966. Zagadnienie „południowego przełomu” Odry [The problem of ‘southern gap’ of Odra river]. Czasopismo Geograficzne 37, 269-287 (in Polish).

Szczepankiewicz, S., 1989. Ziemie południowo-zachodniej Polski - morfogeneza i dzieje czwartorzędowe [South-western region of Poland: morphogenesis and Quaternary history]. Acta Universitatis Wratislaviensis 1029, 136 pp. (in Polish).

Tsoar, H., 1982. Internal structure and surface geometry of longitudinal (seif) dunes. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 52, 0823-0831.

Tsoar, H., 1983. Dynamic processes acting on longitudinal (seif) sand dune. Sedimentology 30, 567-578.

Tsoar, H., 1984. The formation of seif dunes from barchans - a discussion. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, N.F., 28, 99-103.

Vandenberghe, D.A.G., Derese, C., Kasse C. & van den Haute, P., 2013. Late Weichselian (fluvio-) aeolian sediments and Holocene drift-sands of the classic type locality in Twente (E Netherlands): a high-resolution dating study using optically stimulated luminescence. Quaternary Science Reviews 68, 96-113.

Vandenberghe, J., 2001. A typology of Pleistocene coldbased rivers. Quaternary International 79, 111-121.

Vandenberghe, J., 2007. Cryoturbation structures. [In:] S.A. Elias (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, vol. 3. Elsevier, 2147-2153.

Vandenberghe, J. & Pissart A., 1993. Permafrost changes in Europe during the last glacial. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 4, 121-135.

Vandenberghe, J. & Woo, M.K., 2002. Modern and ancient periglacial river types. Progress in Physical Geography 26, 479-506.

van Huissteden, J. & Kasse, C., 2001. Detection of rapid climate change in Last Glacial fluvial successions in the Netherlands. Global and Planetary Change 28, 319-339.

van Huissteden, J., Vandenberghe, J., van der Hammen, T. & Laan, W., 2000. Fluvial and aeolian interaction under permafrost condition: Weichselian Late Pleniglacial, Twente, Eastern Netherlands. Catena 40, 307-321.

van Vliet-Lanoë, B., Magyari, A. & Meilliez, F., 2004. Distinguishing between tectonic and periglacial deformations of quaternary continental deposits in Europe. Global and Planetary Change 43, 103-127.

Winnicka G., 2007. Szczegółowa mapa geologiczna Polski w skali 1:50 000, ark. Czeszów [Detailed Geological Map of Poland, 1:50,000, sheet Czeszów] Polish Geological Institute, Warsaw.

Winnicka G., 2008. Objaśnienia do Szczegółowej mapy geologicznej Polski w skalil 1:50 000, ark. Czeszów [Explanations for Detailed Geological Map of Poland, 1:50,000, sheet Czeszów]. Polish Geological Institute, Warsaw (in Polish).

Wojtanowicz J., 1969. Typy genetyczne wydm Niziny Sandomierskiej [Types génétiques de dunes dans le Bassin de Sandomierz]. Annales UMCS, B, 24, 1-45.

Woronko B., 2012. Zapis procesów eolicznych w osadach piaszczystych na wybranych obszarach Polski środkowej i północno-wschodniej [Records of aeolian processes in the Pleistocene sandy sediments in selected areas of central and north-eastern Poland]. Warsaw University Press, Warszawa, 134 pp. (in Polish).

Woronko B., Zieliński P. & Sokołowski R.J., 2015. Climate evolution during the Pleniglacial and Late Glacial as recorded in quartz grain morphoscopy of fluvial to aeolian successions of the European Sand Belt. Geologos 21, 89-103.

Zieliński P., 2003. Formation conditions of inland longitudinal dunes as derived from the investigations in the western part of the Lublin Upland. Landform Analysis 4, 67-73.

Zieliński, P. & Issmer, K., 2008. Propozycja kodu genetycznego osadów środowiska eolicznego [The proposal of genetic code of aeolian deposits]. Przegląd Geologiczny 56, 67-72 (in Polish).

Zieliński, P., Sokołowski, R.J., Fedorowicz, S. & Jankowski, M., 2011. Stratigraphic position of fluvial and aeolian deposits in the Żabinko site (W Poland) based on TL dating. Geochronometria 38, 64-71.

Zieliński, P., Sokołowski, R.J., Fedorowicz, S. & Zaleski, I., 2014a. Periglacial structures within fluvio-aeolian successions of the end of the Last Glaciation - examples from SE Poland and NW Ukraine. Boreas 43, 712-721.

Zieliński, P., Sokołowski, R.J., Woronko, B., Jankowski, M., Fedorowicz, S., Zaleski, I., Molodkov, A. & Weckwerth, P., 2014b. The depositional conditions of the fluvio-aeolian succession during the last climate minimum based on the examples from Poland and NW Ukraine. Quaternary International (

Zieliński, T., 1993. Sandry Polski północno-wschodniej - osady i warunki sedymentacji [Outwashes of NE Poland - deposits and sedimentary processes]. Uniwersytet Śląski, Katowice, 95 pp. (in Polish) Zieliński T., 1998. Litofacjalna identyfikacja osadów rzecznych [Lithofacial identification of alluvial sediments]. [In:] E. Mycielska-Dowgiałło (Ed.): Struktury sedymentacyjne i postsedymentacyjne w osadach czwartorzędowych i ich wartość interpretacyjna [Sedimentological and postsedimentological structures in Quaternary sediments and their value for interpretation]. UW, Warszawa, pp. 167-257.

Zieliński, T., 2014. Sedymentologia. Osady rzek i jezior [Sedimentology. Deposits of rivers and lakes]. Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, Poznań, 594 pp. (in Polish).


The Journal of Adam Mickiewicz University

Journal Information

CiteScore 2017: 0.72

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.249
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.601

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 147 147 22
PDF Downloads 50 50 14