The Danube loess stratigraphy – new steps towards a European-wide loess stratigraphic model

Slobodan Markovic1, Ulrich Hambach2, Ludwig Zöller2, Thomas Stevens3, George Kukla4, Björn Buggle2, Gábor Újvári5, Daniel Veres6, Pál Sümegi7, Alida Timar-Gabor8, Michael Zech2, János Kovács9, Ian Smalley10, Ken O'Hara-Dhand10
1 LAPER, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
2 Chair of Geomorphology, University of Byreuth, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany
3 Centre for Quaternary Research, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK
4 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Rt. 9W, Palisades NY 10964, USA
5 Geodetic and Geophysical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Csatkai Endre u. 6-8., H-9400 Sopron, Hungary
6 Institute of Speleology, Dept of Geology, Romanian Academy, Babes Bolyai University
7 Department of Geology and Paleontology, University of Szeged, Egyetem u. 2-6, H-6722 Szeged, Hungary
8 Faculty of Environmental Science, Babes-Bolyai University, Fantanele, 30, 400294 Cluj Napoca, Romania
9 Department of Geology, University of Pécs, Ifjúság u. 6., H-7624 Pécs, Hungary
10 Giotto Loess Research Group, Geography Department, Leicester University, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK

Invited Talk 1.2 in Progress in Quaternary Stratigraphy

17.09.2012, 09:40-10:00, H8

The Danube river drainage basin is a significant and extensive 200,000 km2 loess region and covers wide ranging modern and past environments. Indeed, the Danube River may itself be responsible for the transportation of large volumes of silt that ultimately form loess. European loess research started in the last decade of 17th century with investigations of Count Luigi Ferdinand Marsigli in the Danube Basin. Since that time numerous investigations have provided the basis for the framework used by Kukla in his celebrated correlations of loess sediments with deep-sea sediments. These crucial stratigraphic advances demonstrated the enormous paleoenvironmetal and paleoclimatic significance of the Danubian loess deposits. Loess-paleosol sequences in the middle and lower reaches of the Danube river basin contain some of the longest and most complete continental climate records in Europe covering approximately the last million years.

The very size of the Danube loess belt, and the consequent large number of countries covered by Danubian loess, presents a major limiting factor in the utility of these deposits. Local loess-paleosol stratigraphic schemes have been defined in all these countries separately and the difficulties correlating such schemes have limited the number of basin-wide studies. A unified basin-wide stratigraphic model would greatly alleviate these difficulties and facilitate research into the paleoenvironmental record they contain. Here we define a Danube basin-wide loess stratigraphic model (marked by a prefix D) and compare it with the record preserved in the Chinese Loess Plateau and also with the oxygen isotope record in deep-sea sediments. Similar to the Chinese loess stratigraphic scheme, the hierarchy of Danubian stratigraphic units is determined by climatically controlled environmental shifts. This stratigraphic approach can for the first time provide an appropriate base for the development of an integrated European loess stratigraphic scheme.

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last modified 2012-07-29