Upper Quaternary soil development and paleo-environments on the Swiss Plateau: A progress report

heinz-veit-vortragThe existence of periglacial cover beds as forming an important part of soil parent material in Europe is widely accepted. The youngest of these cover beds, the “Upper Layer” (Hauptlage) is assumed to have developed during the Lateglacial. The formation of Luvisols (Parabraunerden) is assumed to have occurred afterwards, during the Holocene, under forest vegetation and stable surface conditions. Some authors describe initial soil formation during the lateglacial reforestation period (Bölling/Alleröd), but still interpreting the main part of Luvisol formation under forest during the Holocene. One consequence of this interpretation is the use of Bt-horizons as paleo-ecological and stratigraphic indicators of interglacials in Europe.

On the Swiss Plateau, soils have mainly developed on glacial and glaciofluvial deposits of different ages, covered by periglacial cover beds. The known glacial chronology is an ideal prerequisite to study soil chronosequences on these Upper Quaternary deposits. We applied extensive OSL datings on the cover beds and the parent material of the soils. This allows a more detailed understanding of the timing of processes like decalcification and clay dislocation. The results question some of our basic understandings concerning the timing of soil formation and related paleo-geoecological conditions. These findings and preliminary conclusions from our ongoing research will be discussed in the talk. 

Prof. Dr. Heinz Veit, University of Berne

Prof. Dr. Heinz Veit, University of Berne

Heinz Veit holds the chair of Paleo-Geoecology at the Institute of Geography, University of Berne, since 1996. He did his studies, PhD and postdoc in geomorphology, soil science and geoecology at the universities of Frankfurt, Bayreuth and La Serena (Chile). His scientific interests are I) glacial history and chronology in high mountains (Andes, Bale Mountains, Alps), II) past and present periglacial dynamics and cover beds (Alps, Andes, Bale Mountains, Europe), III) tropical hillwash (Brazil, Kamerun, Nigeria), IV) geoarcheology (Bolivian Amazon, Bale Mountains) and V) soil genesis and paleosols (Europe, Kamerun, Nigeria, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil).

Event Information:

Date, Time: 23/01/2017, 16:00 h – 17:00 h

Location: Room 0.024, Biozentrum (Building 304), Zülpicher Str. 47b, Cologne

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