- Contribution of laser altimetry images to the geomorphology of the Late Holocene inland drift sands of the European Sand Belt
- Volume | Issue number
- 23 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
The paper explores the possibilities of applying the analysis of laser altimetry images to Dutch drift sands. All along the European Sand Belt, which stretches from Great Britain to the Ural Mountains, Late Glacial cover sands, river dunes and other ice-age deposits were reactivated as drift sand during the Holocene. New insights were obtained in three aspects of drift-sands geomorphology. First, the variety in forms of drift-sand landscapes is often described as chaotic. Laser altimetry images show that complex clusters are formed elongated in the direction of the prevailing SW wind and consisting of three zones which correspond to the successive aspects of the aeolian process: deflation, transport and deposition (dune formation). In densely populated areas, this structure has been ruined by human activities. Second, contrary to common belief, the drift-sand cells expanded against the prevailing SW wind whereas the characteristic comb dunes at the opposite NE edge remained fixed by vegetation. Third, the authors questioned the view that drift sands are due to anthropogenic activities. The origin of drift sands can best be explained by the climate with violent storms in the first part of the past millennium.
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