Title: Holocene sediment dynamics in the Dijle catchment
Authors: Notebaert, Bastiaan ×
Vandenberghe, Dimitri
Verstraeten, Gert
Rommens, Tom
Poesen, Jean
Govers, Gerard #
Issue Date: Mar-2009
Host Document: BELQUA 2009 Annual Scientific Workshop
Conference: BELQUA 2009 Annual Scientific Workshop date:3 March 2009
Abstract: Soil erosion and sediment deposition are important geomorphic processes in the European
loess belt. Previous studies have shown large variations in sediment deposition during the
Holocene, and they are often linked to climatic changes or changes in land use. It has also
been demonstrated that systems can react in a complex way, and therefore it is necessary to
place depositional archives within the context of the geomorphic system. Sediment budgets
are ideal tools to do this, and therefore a sediment budgets for different time periods within
the Holocene was constructed for the Belgian Dijle catchment.
To calculate soil erosion and sediment deposition on slopes, 809 soil augerings were
performed at six locations. For each augering the total Holocene erosion and/or deposition
was calculated using the soil profile truncation method. These data were extrapolated to the
entire catchment using geomorphic units. Total alluvial deposition was calculated using 27
floodplain hand auger cross section, based on in total 230 hand augerings. These data were
extrapolated to the entire catchment using homogenous floodplain stretches, for which each
time at least one representative cross section was available. In total 73 radiocarbon dates and
12 OSL dates from 3 colluvial and 8 alluvial sediment archives were used to split the
sediment budget in three different time frames: early Holocene until 500BC, 500 BC-1000AD
and 1000 AD-present.
The resulting sediment budgets show the importance of soil erosion within the Dijle
catchment: in total 817 ±66 Mt soil was eroded during the Holocene. From this amount about
330 Mt (40%) was deposited as colluviums and 310 Mt (38%) as alluvium, while about 177
Mt (22%) was exported from the catchment. There is a clear increase in sediment deposition
between the first period (early Holocene until 500BC) and the second (500 BC- 1000 AD),
but the major part of deposition took place in the last period (1000 AD –recent). These
important differences can be explained by differences in land use intensity: anthropogenous
land use is clearly the main explaining factor for soil erosion and sediment deposition within
the Dijle catchment. Given the dating resolution available, there are no indications of the
influence of climatic variations on floodplain deposition, although it is possible that extreme
climatic events may have accelerated land use driven erosion.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: AMa
Appears in Collections:Division of Geography & Tourism
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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