Mineral magnetic characterization of the Upper Pleniglacial Nussloch loess sequence (Germany): an insight into local environmental processes

Prud’homme, Charlotte; Lécuyer, Christophe; Antoine, Pierre; Hatté, Christine; Moine, Olivier; Fourel, François; Amiot, Romain; Martineau, François; Rousseau, Denis-Didier

Presently, most loess/palaeosol magnetic susceptibility records are interpreted as following either the wind-vigour model or the pedogenic enhancement model. However redoxomorphic processes induced by waterlogging, often referred to gleying in the loess literature, are also known to alter loess deposits but their impact on loess/palaeosol magnetic susceptibility records has received little attention. The reported rock magnetic study aims to characterize the mineral magnetic response of loess to waterlogging-induced redoxomorphic processes, thus improving our understanding of mineral magnetic changes within loess deposits with respect to environmental and climate conditions. The Nussloch loess-palaeosol deposit (Rhine Valley, Germany) was targeted because it is one of the best-studied Pleniglacial deposits for Western Europe in which numerous tundra gley intervals have been identified. Moreover, a comprehensive high-resolution environmental magnetism study has never been undertaken for this site.

Various rock magnetism experiments were conducted at both room and low temperatures to characterise the composition, concentration and relative magnetic grain size of the mineral magnetic assemblage. The relative changes in magnetic parameters within the investigated loess interval are primarily controlled by (1) varying concentrations of coarse-grained ferrimagnetic particles of detrital (aeolian) origin and (2) dissolution of fine-grained ferrimagnetic particles related to in situ post-depositional alteration promoted by waterlogging-induced redoxomorphic processes. Goethite is found to be ubiquitous throughout the studied interval and is argued to have both a primary (aeolian) and secondary (in situ) origin. We conclude, that redoxomorphic processes induced by waterlogging, if present, will hinder the interpretation of magnetic susceptibility variations within loess and palaeosol deposits following the expected relationships dictated by the wind-vigour and the pedogenic enhancement magnetism models.

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Also Published In

Geophysical Journal International

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
January 16, 2018