26Al/10Be burial ages for a Pleistocene terrace in the Vienna Basin, Austria
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
The Vienna Basin in the northeastern part of Austria between the Eastern Alps and the West Carpathians is a pull-apart basin crossed by the Danube river. The structure is filled with marine and terrestrial sediments showing thicknesses of up to 6 km. An increase in glacial melt water discharges, typically linked to high productivity of Alpine glaciers, had an essential impact on the formation of the investigated terrace. The scale of erosion and sediment transport translates to deposition rates in the foreland and is influenced by the magnitude of melt water discharges in Alpine catchment areas. Variations in layer characteristics (i.e. grain size, sorting, thickness) are an indicator for glacial pulses. Burial dates of ten quartz pebbles originating from the Gaenserndorfer terrace, situated in the northeastern part of the basin, set time dependent constraints on the required hydrological regime for mobilization, transport and sedimentation of bedloads and allow relating the deposition of glacial sediments to past glacial periods. But the geomorphic evolution of the Vienna Basin was not only determined by sedimentation processes. A number of irregularities manifest that tectonics affected the area as well: Terrace tilts are dipping against the slope of the Danube and offsets of some decameters between sediment layers showing the same facies, but located several kilometers apart from each other, could be identified. An extensive Miocene fault system was partly reactivated during the Middle Pleistocene and could have caused the formation of these discontinuities. It is of great interest to discriminate impacts on the area due to deposition from morphological elements formed by seismic events. The preliminary burial ages afford for putting the sampled terrace segment into a coherent geochronological context and provide a dataset to compare ages of the Gaenserndofer terrace to ages of sediment layers at other locations within the basin in order to either validate or reject the hypothesis that they belong to the same stratigraphical unit. The dating of the terrace helps to analyze the processes dominating this complex area and can contribute to a better understanding of the prevalent climate conditions in the Alps, the Alpine foreland and the inner Alpine basins during the Quaternary.