Understanding a continuous inland aeolian deposition: a closer look into a chronological and sedimentary record of the north-eastern European Sand Belt

Edyta Kalińska

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/18576


A belt of inland aeolian sand sediments termed the European Sand Belt (ESB) runs throughout Europe, and its western part has gained greater attention, while attention to the eastern part has been limited. Whereas clear aeolian–paleosol sequences that reflect colder–-armer phases are known from its western part, such alternation is practically undetectable in the eastern part. This study combines the available chronological and sedimentary data from the north-eastern part of the ESB, with a special focus on the Baltic State region. Here, aeolian deposition took place between 15.9±1.0 ka and 8.5±0.5 ka, almost instantly following a deglaciation and drainage of paleolakes, and thereafter practically without longer-term stability. Lack of paleosols is likely due to the prevalence of pioneer vegetation, reflecting dry and cold climate conditions, and thus giving limited opportunity for soil development.


inland dune; optically stimulated luminescence (OSL); pulsed OSL; rounded quartz grains; the Baltic States

Full Text:



AMON L., SAARSE L., HEINSALU A., VESKI S., 2016, Timing of the deglaciation and the late-glacial vegetation development on the Pandivere Upland, North Estonia. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finland, 88: 69–83.

AMON L., VESKI S., VASSILJEV J., 2014, Tree taxa immigration to the eastern Baltic region, southeastern sector of Scandinavian glaciation during the Late-glacial period (14,500–11,700 cal. BP). Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 23: 207–216. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00334-014-0442-6

ANDERSON, C.J., STRUBLE, A., WHITMORE, J.H., 2017, Abrasion resistance of muscovite in aeolian and subaqueous transport experiments. Aeolian Research, 24: 33–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2016.11.003

BEERTEN, K., HEYVAERT, V.M.A., VANDENBERGHE, D.A.G., VAN NIEULAND, J., BOGEMANS, F., 2017, Revising the Gent Formation: a new lithostratigraphy for Quaternary wind-dominated sand deposits in Belgium. Geologica Belgica, 20: 95–102. https://doi.org/10.20341/gb.2017.006

BEERTEN, K., LETERME, B., 2015, Palaeohydrological reconstruction (1500–2000AD) of a drift sand landscape using pedogeomorphological and historical data (Campine area, NE Belgium). Catena, 135: 208–218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2015.07.022

BLAŽAUSKAS, N., JURGAITIS, A., ŠINKŪNAS, P., 1998, Sedimentation of Quaternary sandy deposits in South Lithuania. Litosfera, 2: 87–100.

BOS, J.A.A., DE SMEDT, P., DEMIDDELE, H., HOEK, W.Z., LANGOHR, R., MARCELINO, V., VAN ASCH, N., VAN DAMME, D., VAN DER MEEREN, T., VERNIERS, J., CROMBÉ, P., 2018, Weichselian Lateglacial environmental and vegetation development in the Moervaart palaeolake area (NW Belgium); implications for former human occupation patterns. Review of Palaeobothany and Palynology, 248: 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2017.09.006

BUYNEVICH IV, BITINAS A, PUPIENIS D., 2015, Aeolian sand invasion: Georadar Signatures from the Curonian Spit Dunes, Lithuania, [in:] Randazzo G., Jackson D.W.T., Cooper J.A.G., (eds.) Sand and Gravel Spits. Cham: Springer International Publishing: 67-78.

ClARK, R.J., BAILIFF, I.K., TOOLEY, M.J., 1997, A preliminary study of time resolved luminescence in some feldspars. Radiation Measurements, 27: 211–220.

COSTA, P.J.M., ANDRADE, C., MAHANEY, W.C., MARQUES DA SILVA, F., FREIRE, P., FREITAS, M.C., JANARDO, C., OLIVEIRA, M.A., SILVA, T., LOPES, V., 2013, Aeolian microtextures in silica spheres induced in a wind tunnel experiment: Comparison with aeolian quartz. Geomorphology, 180–181: 120–129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.09.011

DERESE, C., VANDENBERGHE, D., EGGERMONT, N., BASTIAENS, J., ANNAERT, R., VAN DEN HAUTE, P., 2010, A medieval settlement caught in the sand: Optical dating of sand-drifting at Pulle (N Belgium). Quaternary Geochronology, 5: 336–341. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quageo.2009.01.003

DRENOVA, A.N., TIMIREVA, S.N., CHIKOLINI, N.I., 1997, Late glacial dune-building in the Russian plain. Quaternary International, 41/42: 59–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1040-6182(96)00037-7

DULLER, G.A.T., 2003, Distinguishing quartz and feldspar in single grain luminescence measurements. Radiation Measurements, 37: 161–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1350-4487(02)00170-1

DOBROTIN, N., BITINAS, A., MICHELEVICIUS, D., DAMUŠYTE, A., MAZEIKA, J., 2013. Reconstruction of the dead (grey) dune evolution along the Curonian Spit, Southeastern Baltic. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finland, 85: 53-64.

FEURDEAN, A., PERŞOIU, A., TANŢĂU, I., STEVENS, T., MAGYARI, E.K., ONAC, B.P., MARKOVIĆ, S., ANDRIČ, M., CONNOr, S., FĂRCAŞ, S., GAŁKA, M., GAUDENY, T., HOEK, W., KOLACZEK, P., KUNEŠ, P., LAMENTOWICZ, M., MARINOVA, E., MICHCZYŃSKA, D.J., PERŞOIU, I., PŁÓCIENNIK, M., SŁOWIŃSKI, M., STANCIKAITE, M., SUMEGI, P., SVENSSON, A., TĂMAŞ, T., TIMAR, A., TONKOV, S., TOTH, M., VESKI, S., WILLIS, K.J., ZERNITSKAYA, V., 2014, Climate variability and associated vegetation response throughout Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) between 60 and 8ka. Quaternary Science Reviews, 106: 206–224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.06.003

FIEDEL, S.J., 2011, The mysterious onset of the Younger Dryas. Quaternary International, 242: 262–266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2011.02.044

GAIGALAS, A., PAZDUR, A., 2008. Chronology of buried soils, forest fires and extreme migration of dunes on the Kuršių Nerija spit (Lithuanian coast). Landform Analysis, 9: 187–191.

GUO, L., XIONG, S., DONG, X., DING, Z., YANG, P., ZHAO, H., WU, J., YE, W., JIN, G., WU, W., ZHENG, L., 2018, Linkage between C4 vegetation expansion and dune stabilization in the deserts of NE China during the late Quaternary. Quaternary International

GUOBYTĖ, R., SATKŪNAS, J., 2011. Chapter 19 - Pleistocene glaciations in Lithuania. Development in the Quaternary Sciences, 15: 231–246. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-53447-7.00019-2

HIRSCH, F., FISCHER, T., FORMAN, S.L., RAAB, T., BENS, O., SCHNEIDER, A., 2017, Late Quaternary aeolian dynamics, pedostratigraphy and soil formation in the North European Lowlands - new findings from the Baruther ice-marginal valley. Die Erde, Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 148: 58–73. https://doi.org/10.12854/erde-148-30

HOŠEK, J., POKORNÝ, P., PRACH, J., LISÁ, L., GRYGAR, T.M., KNÉSL, I., TRUBAČ, J., 2017, Late Glacial erosion and pedogenesis dynamics: Evidence from high-resolution lacustrine archives and paleosols in south Bohemia (Czech Republic). Catena, 150: 261–278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2016.11.022

JANKOWSKI, M., 2012, Lateglacial soil paleocatena in inland-dune area of the Toruń Basin, Northern Poland. Quaternary International, 265: 116–125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2012.02.006

KAISER, K., HILGERS, A., SCHLAAK, N., JANKOWSKI, M., KÜHN, P., BUSSEMER, S., PRZEGIĘTKA, K., 2009, Palaeopedological marker horizons in northern central Europe: characteristics of Lateglacial Usselo and Finow soils. Boreas, 38: 591–609. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1502-3885.2008.00076.x

KALIŃSKA-NARTIŠA, E., NARTIŠS, M., THIEL, C., BUYLAERT, J.-P., MURRAY, A.S., 2015a, Late-glacial to Holocene aeolian deposition in northeastern Europe - The timing of sedimentation at the Iisaku site (NE Estonia). Quaternary International, 357: 70–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.08.039

KALIŃSKA-NARTIŠA, E., THIEL, C., NARTIŠS, M., BUYLAERT, J.-P., MURRAY, A.S., 2015b, Age and sedimentary record of inland aeolian sediments in Lithuania, NE European Sand Belt. Quaternary Research, 84: 82–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yqres.2015.04.001

KALIŃSKA-NARTIŠA, E., NARTIŠS, M., 2016a, The fan-like forms in the southern margin of the Mazovian Lowland area (Central Poland): a new high-resolution textural-timing study. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 105: 885–903. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-015-1218-7

KALIŃSKA-NARTIŠA, E., NARTIŠS, M., 2016b, Sandy fan-like forms in the central-eastern Mazovian Lowland (Central Poland): Textural record and chronology. Geografiska Annaler Ser. A Physical Geography, 98: 111–127. https://doi.org/10.1111/geoa.12125

KALIŃSKA-NARTIŠA, E., THIEL, C., NARTIŠS, M., BUYLAERT, J.-P., MURRAY, A.S., 2016, The north-eastern aeolian “European Sand Belt” as potential record of environmental changes: A case study from Eastern Latvia and Southern Estonia. Aeolian Research, 22: 59–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2016.06.002

KALIŃSKA-NARTIŠA, E., WORONKO, B., NING, W., 2017, Microtextural inheritance on quartz sand grains from Pleistocene periglacial environments of the Mazovian Lowland, Central Poland. Permafrost and Periglacial Process, 28: 741–756. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp.1943

KALM, V., RAUKAS, A., RATTAS, M., LASBERG, K., 2011, Pleistocene Glaciations in Estonia, [in:] Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P.L., Hughes, P.D. (eds.), Quaternary Glaciations - Extent and Chronology, Developments in Quaternary Science. Elsevier Inc., Amsterdam: 95–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-53447-7.00008-8

KARASIEWICZ, T.M., HULISZ, P., NORYŚKIEWICZ, A.M., STACHOWICZ-RYBKA, R., 2017, Post-glacial environmental history in NE Poland based on sedimentary records from the Dobrzyń Lakeland. Quaternary International. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.10.039

KLEESMENT, A., KIRSIMÄE, K., MARTMA, T., SHOGENOVA, A., URTSON, K., SHOGENOV, K., 2012, Linkage of diagenesis to depositional environments and stratigraphy in the northern part of the Baltic basin. Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences, 61: 15–32. https://doi.org/10.3176/earth.2012.1.02

LAMSTERS, K., KALIŃSKA-NARTIŠA, E., ZELČS, V., ALEXANDERSON, H., 2017. New luminescence ages reveal early to Middle Weichselian deposits in central Latvia. Geological Quaterly, 61: 480–490. https://doi.org/10.7306/gq.1349

LASBERG, K., KALM, V., 2013. Chronology of Late Weichselian glaciation in the western part of the East European Plain. Boreas, 42: 995–1007. https://doi.org/10.1111/bor.12016

LAUMETS, L., KALM, V., POSKA, A., KELE, S., LASBERG, K., AMON, L., 2014, Palaeoclimate inferred from δ18O and palaeobotanical indicators in freshwater tufa of Lake Äntu Sinijärv, Estonia. Journal of Paleolimnology, 51: 99–111. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-013-9758-y

LUDWIG, J., LINDHORST, S., BETZLER, C., BIERSTEDT, S.E., BORÓWKA, R.K., 2017, Sedimentary rhythms in coastal dunes as a record of intra-annual changes in wind climate (Łeba, Poland). Aeolian Research, 27: 67–77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2017.06.003

MAHANEY, W.C., (ed.), 2002, Atlas of sand grain surface, textures and applications. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

MOLODKOV, A., BITINAS, A., 2006, Sedimentary record and luminescence chronology of the Lateglacial and Holocene aeolian sediments in Lithuania. Boreas, 35: 244–254. https://doi.org/10.1080/03009480600584915

MURRAY, A.S., WINTLE, A.G., 2000, Luminescence dating of quartz using an improved single-aliquot regenerative-dose protocol. Radiation Measurements, 32: 57–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1350-4487(99)00253-X

MYCIELSKA-DOWGIAŁŁO, E., WORONKO, B., 2004, The degree of aeolization of Quaternary deposits in Poland as a tool for stratigraphic interpretation. Sedimentary Geology, 168: 149–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sedgeo.2003.12.006

MYCIELSKA-DOWGIAŁŁO, E., WORONKO, B., 1998, Analiza obtoczenia i zmatowienia powierzchni ziarn kwarcowych frakcji piaszczystej i jej wartość interpretacyjna. Przegląd Geologiczny, 46: 1275–1281.

NARTIŠS, M., CELIŅŠ, I., ZELČS, V., DAUŠKANS, M., 2009, Stop 8: History of the development and palaeogeography of ice-dammed lakes and inland dunes at Seda sandy plain, North Western Vidzeme, Latvia, [in:] Kalm, V., Lauments, L., Hang, T. (eds.), Extent and Timing of the Weichselian Glaciation Southeast of the Baltic Sea: Abstracts & Guidebook. The INQUA Peribaltic Working Group Field Symposium in Southern Estonia and Northern Latvia. Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus, Tartu: 79–81.

NARTIŠS, M., KALINSKA-NARTIŠA, E., 2017. An aeolian or a glaciolacustrine record? A case study from Mielupite, Middle Gauja Lowland, Northeast Latvia. Geologos, 23: 15–28. https://doi.org/10.1515/logos-2017-0002

OLLEY, J.M., MURRAY, A.S., ROBERTS, R.G., 1996. The effects of disequilibria in the uranium and thorium decay chains on burial dose rates in fluvial sediments. Quaternary Science Reviews, 15: 751–760.

RATAS, U., RAUKAS, A., RIVIS, R., TAVAST, E., 2015, Aeolian Activity on the Northern Coast of Lake Peipsi, North-Eastern Estonia. Journal of Coastal Research, 299: 25–35. https://doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00231.1

RAUKAS, A., 1999, Aeolian activity, [in:] Miidel, Avo, Raukas, Anto (ed.), Lake Peipsi. Geology. Sulemees Publishers, Tallinn: 120–124.

RAUKAS, A., HÜÜT, G., 1988, On the luminescence dating of aeolian deposits in Estonia. Baltica, 11: 17–24.

RINTERKNECHT, V.R., BITINAS, A., CLARK, P.U., RAISBECK, G.M., YIOU, F., BROOK, E.J., PAVLOVSKAYA, I.E., CLARK, P.U., RAISBECK, G.M., YIOU, F., BROOK, E.J., 2008, Timing of the last deglaciation in Lithuania. Boreas, 37: 426–433. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1502-3885.2008.00027.x

RINTERKNECHT, V.R., CLARK, P.U., RAISBECK, G.M., YIOU, F., BITINAS, A., BROOK, E.J., MARKS, L., ZELCS, V., LUNKKA, J.-P., PAVLOVSKAYA, I.E., PIOTROWSKI, J.A., RAUKAS, A., 2006. The last deglaciation of the southeastern sector of the Scandinavian ice sheet. Science 311, 1449–52. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1120702

ROHDENBURG, H., 1970, Hangpedimentation und Klimawechsel als wichtigste Faktoren der Flächen- und Stufenbildung in den wechselfeuchten Tropen. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, 14: 58–78.

ROSKIN, J., KATRA, I., PORAT, N., ZILBERMAN, E., 2013, Evolution of Middle to Late Pleistocene sandy calcareous paleosols underlying the northwestern Negev Desert Dunefield (Israel). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 387: 134–152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.07.018

RYCHEL, J., WORONKO, B., BŁASZKIEWICZ, M., KARASIEWICZ, T., 2018, Aeolian processes records within the last glacial limit areas based on the Płock basin case (Central Poland). Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finalnd, 90(2): 55–69.

SAKS, T., KALVANS, A., ZELCS, V., 2012, OSL dating of Middle Weichselian age shallow basin sediments in Western Latvia, Eastern Baltic. Quaternary Science Reviews, 44: 60–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.11.004

SEVINK, J., VAN GEEL, B., JANSEN, B., WALLINGA, J., 2018, Early Holocene forest fires, drift sands, and Usselo-type paleosols in the Laarder Wasmeren area near Hilversum, the Netherlands: Implications for the history of sand landscapes and the potential role of Mesolithic land use. Catena, 165: 286–298. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2018.02.016

STANČIKAITĖ, M., ŠINKŪNAS, P., ŠEIRIENĖ, V., KISIELIENĖ, D., 2008, Patterns and chronology of the Lateglacial environmental development at Pamerkiai and Kašušiai, Lithuania. Quaternary Sciences Reviews, 27: 127–147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.01.014

STIVRINS, N., KOLACZEK, P., REITALU, T., SEPPÄ, H., VESKI, S., 2015, Phytoplankton response to the environmental and climatic variability in a temperate lake over the last 14,500 years in eastern Latvia. Journal of Paleolimnology, 54: 103–119. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-015-9840-8

STIVRINS, N., SOININEN, J., TÕNNO, I., FREIBERG, R., VESKI, S., KISAND, V., 2018, Towards understanding the abundance of non-pollen palynomorphs: A comparison of fossil algae, algal pigments and sedaDNA from temperate lake sediments. Review of Palaeobothany and Palynology, 249: 9–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2017.11.001

SUN, J.M., MUHS, D.R., 2007, Dunefields: mid-latitudes, [in:] The Encyclopedia of Quaternary Sciences. Elsevier, Amsterdam: 607–626.

THOMSEN, K.J., JAIN, M., MURRAY, A.S., DENBY, P.M., ROY, N., BØTTER-JENSEN, L., 2008, Minimizing feldspar OSL contamination in quartz UV-OSL using pulsed blue stimulation. Radiatiation Measurements, 43: 752–757. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.radmeas.2008.01.020

TOUCANNE, S., SOULET, G., FRESLON, N., SILVA JACINTO, R., DENNIELOU, B., ZARAGOSI, S., EYNAUD, F., BOURILLET, J.F., BAYON, G., 2015, Millennial-scale fluctuations of the European Ice Sheet at the end of the last glacial, and their potential impact on global climate. Quaternary Science Reviews, 123: 113–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.06.010

VANDENBERGHE, D.A.G., DERESE, C., KASSE, C., VAN DEN HAUTE, P., 2013, Late Weichselian (fluvio-)aeolian sediments and Holocene drift-sands of the classic type locality in Twente (E Netherlands): a high-resolution dating study using optically stimulated luminescence. Quaternary Science Reviews, 68: 96–113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.02.009

VASSILJEV, J., SAARSE, L., 2013, Timing of the Baltic Ice Lake in the eastern Baltic. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finland, 85: 9–18.

VOS, K., VANDENBERGHE, N., ELSEN, J., 2014, Surface textural analysis of quartz grains by scanning electron microscopy (SEM): From sample preparation to environmental interpretation. Earth-Science Reviews, 128: 93–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.10.013

XU, Z., LU, H., YI, S., VANDENBERGHE, J., MASON, J. A., ZHOU, Y., WANG, X., 2015, Climate-driven changes to dune activity during the Last Glacial Maximum and deglaciation in the Mu Us dune field, north-central China. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 427: 149–159. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2015.07.002

ZEEBERG, J., 1993, Aeolian redistribution of glacial silt and sand in Estonia and the Baltic region. Utrecht.

ZEEBERG, J., 1998, The European sand belt in eastern Europe - and comparison of Late Glacial dune orientation with GCM simulation results. Boreas, 27: 127–139.

ZELČS, V., MARKOTS, A., 2004, Deglaciation history of Latvia, [in:] Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P.L. (eds.), Quaternary Glaciations Extent and Chronology Part I: Europe, Developments in Quaternary Science. Elsevier, Amsterdam: 225–243. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1571-0866(04)80074-5

ZELČS, V., MARKOTS, A., NARTIŠS, M., SAKS, T., 2011, Pleistocene Glaciations in Latvia, in: Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P.L., Hughes, P.D. (eds.), Quaternary Glaciations - Extent and Chronology, Developments in Quaternary Science. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 221–229. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-53447-7.00018-0

ZIELIŃSKI, P., SOKOŁOWSKI, R.J., JANKOWSKI, M., STANDZIKOWSKI, K., FEDOROWICZ, S., 2018, The climatic control of sedimentary environment changes during the Weichselian – An example from the Middle Vistula Region (eastern Poland). Quaternary International. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2018.04.036

ZIELIŃSKI, P., SOKOŁOWSKI, R.J., WORONKO, B., JANKOWSKI, M., FEDOROWICZ, S., ZALESKI, I., MOLODKOV, A., WECKWERTH, P., 2015, The depositional conditions of the fluvio-aeolian succession during the last climate minimum based on the examples from Poland and NW Ukraine. Quaternary International, 386: 30–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.08.013

ZIELIŃSKI T., PISARSKA-JAMROŻY, M., 2012, Jakie cechy litologiczne osadów kodować, a jakie nie? Przegląd Geologiczny, 60(7): 387–397.

ISSN 2080-7686 (print)
ISSN 2300-8490 (online)



Partnerzy platformy czasopism