Optical dating of relict sand wedges and composite-wedge pseudomorphs in Flanders, Belgium

Jan-Pieter Buylaert, Günther Ghysels, Andrew S. Murray, Kristina Jørkov Thomsen, Dimitri Vandenberghe, Frans De Corte, Irenee Heyse, Peter Van Den Haute

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    We report on quartz Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating of the infill of 14 relict sand wedges and composite-wedge pseudomorphs at 5 different sites in Flanders, Belgium. A laboratory dose recovery test indicates that the single-aliquot regenerative-dose (SAR) procedure is suitable for our samples (measured to a given dose ratio 0.980 +/- 0.005; n=139). Completeness of resetting of the wedge infill of two samples was confirmed by single-grain analyses. The suite of optical ages indicates that repeated thermal contraction cracking, degradation and infilling with wind-blown sediment appear to have been commonplace in Flanders during the Late Pleniglacial (Oxygen Isotope Stage 2; OIS2); more specifically, around the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, similar to 21 kyr ago) and the transition period between the LGM and the start of the Lateglacial (similar to 15 kyr ago). Optical dating at one site has revealed two significantly older wedge levels, the younger inset into the older; the younger wedge has an age of 36 +/- 4 kyr (Middle Pleniglacial; OIS3), the older wedge 129 +/- 11 kyr, which points to formation during the Late Saalian (OIS6). Our OSL ages of the wedges and host sediments bracket formation of the BGB (Beuningen Gravel Bed: a widespread deflation horizon in northwestern Europe) at between similar to 15 and 18 kyr; this is in good agreement with previous OSL dating studies. We conclude that optical dating using quartz SAR OSL establishes an absolute chronology for these periglacial phenomena and allows secure palaeoenvironmental reconstructions to be made.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)160-175
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Radiation physics
    • Nuclear technologies


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