Depositional conditions of the Upper Younger Loess during the Last Glacial Maximum in central and eastern Europe

Jan Dzierżek, Leszek Lindner, Roman Chlebowski, Marcin Szymanek, Andriy Bogucki, Olena Tomeniuk

Abstract


This paper is a summary of the results of research on the accumulation conditions of the Upper Younger Loess (LMg) in Poland and Bug loess (bg) in Ukraine from the maximum stage (MIS 2) of the Vistulian (Weichselian) Glaciation in central and eastern Europe. These studies included an analysis of the morphological (topographic) situation of the  loess cover, its grain size and heavy mineral composition, the preserved structures of loess sedimentation as well as mollusc and pollen analyses of this loess. They revealed that the accumulation of Upper Younger Loess (UYL) might have been more dependent on the prevailing moisture conditions than previously thought. These conditions could have been caused by cold air masses from an ice sheet and warm air masses from the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic coming together in the Carpathians and the Holy Cross Mountains and favouring the formation of dust storms and precipitation. In this process, a loading of loess dust (formed from local rocks weathering in periglacial conditions) by atmospheric moisture particles was especially significant. The moist substrate not only favoured the periodic development of vegetation and molluscs but also enabled the interception of dust and the accumulation of an increasingly thick loess cover. Westerly and south-westerly winds predominated in the UYL as indicated by the topographic position of loess patches and the mineral composition of the studied loess. Periodically an increased air circulation from the east and northeast occurred.


Keywords


North European Loess Belt; Vistulian Glaciation; Aeolian processes; Palaeowind circulation; Heavy minerals

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