Sand- and mud-filled fluvial palaeochannels in the Wielkopolska Member of Neogene Poznań Formation, central Poland

Marek Widera


This study focuses on the single- and multi-storey fluvial palaeochannel lithosomes encased in mud- rich floodplain deposits in the alluvial succession of the late Neogene Wielkopolska Member of the Poznań For- mation, central Poland, well-exposed in the lignite mining pits of the region. The fluvial lithosomes include both sand-filled and mud-filled channel varieties. The channel-fill facies are not diagnostic for any particular type of fluvial system, as the fine- to very fine-grained sandy deposits are massive to trough cross-stratified and also the muddy deposits are massive to weakly flat-laminated. The scarcity of lateral accretion bedding precludes the possibility of meandering rivers, whereas the low width/thickness ratios of the palaeochannels preclude braided rivers. The width/thickness ratio is in the range of 4.5–14 (averaging 7.5) for sand-filled channels and in the range of 6–10 (averaging 9) for mud-filled ones, which indicates narrow ribbons in general classification of fluvial channel belts. The origin of the alluvial succession is attributed to a W-/NW-directed anastomosing river system characterized by laterally inactive cut-and-fill channels with cohesive and vegetated banks. The sand-filled chan- nels conveyed water and sediment discharges on a perennial basis, whereas the mud-filled conduits are thought to have been the cut-and-abandoned branches of the system, filled by overbank flooding from adjacent active channels. Minor lateral migration of channels occurred probably during periods of minimum subsidence rate, when the fluvial system was forced to develop lateral accommodation for its discharges.

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