Climatic and morphological controls on post-glacial lake and river valley evolution in the Weichselian belt – an example from the Wda valley, Northern Poland

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mirosław Błaszkiewicz1, Jan A Piotrowski2, Achim Brauer3, Piotr Gierszewski1, Jarosław Kordowski1, Mateusz Aleksander Kramkowski1, Piotr Lamparski1, Sebastian Lorenz4, Agnieszka M. Noryśkiewicz5, Florian Ott3, Michal M. Slowinski1,3 and Sebastian Tyszkowski1, (1)Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences,, Department of Environmental Resources and Geohazards, Torun, Poland, (2)Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, (3)Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany, (4)Institute of Geography and Geology, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany, (5)Nicholas Copernicus University, Institute of Archaeology, Torun, Poland
The River Wda valley is a classical example of a polygenetic valley, consisting of former lake basins joined by erosive gap sections. In its middle section, which was the subject of our research, a fragment of an abandoned Lateglacial river valley is preserved, which is unique for the Weichselian moraine belt in the Central European Lowlands. The analysis of the relationship between the lacustrine and fluvial sediments and landforms enabled the authors to report many evolutionary connections between the initial period of the river system formation and the emergence of lakes during the Weichselian Lateglacial. The surface drainage essentially determined the progress of melting of dead ice blocks buried in the glacial depressions, which finally led to lake formation there. Most of the lake basins in the study area were formed during the Bølling-Allerød period. However, one section of the subglacial channel was not exposed to the thermokarst conditions and was therefore preserved with dead ice blocks throughout the entire Lateglacial. The dead ice decay at the beginning of the Holocene, as well as the emergence of another lake, created a lower base level of erosion in the close vicinity of the abandoned valley and induced a change of the river's course. Both fluvial and lacustrine deposits and landforms distributed in the central section of the River Wda valley indicate two processes, which proceeded simultaneously: (1) emergence of fluvially joined lake basins within a glacial channel, (2) degradation of the river bed in the gap sections interfering between the lakes. The processes described for the central section of the River Wda channel indicate a very dynamic river valley development during the Weichselian Lateglacial and the early Holocene. The valley formation was tightly interwoven with the morphogenesis of the primary basins within the valley, mainly with the melting of the buried blocks of dead ice and the development of lakes. This study is a contribution to the Virtual Institute of Integrated Climate and Landscape Evolution (ICLEA) of the Helmholtz Association and the research project no. 2011/01/B/ST10/07367 Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.