Late-Holocene wind-field evolution at the southern Baltic coast as revealed by GPR data from the Mrzeżyno dunefield, NW Poland

Tomasz Zuk, Pawel Sydor, Greg Sambrook-Smith

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Abstract

All dunes within a dunefield usually show a similar response to the wind regime. However, in the late-Holocene coastal dunefield in NW Poland the surface topography suggests that slipface orientation may vary significantly with distance from the coast, which is rarely reported in the literature. The dunefield was stabilized with forest in the mid-19th century, preserving a unique record of atmospheric circulation in the South Baltic region at the end of the Little Ice Age. To elucidate the Holocene processes occurring along the study site a pseudo-3D GPR data set was collected. Six grids of parallel GPR lines combined with 400 m of GPR profiles (2D) were collected across the dunefield and displayed using GOCAD for interpretation and geostatistical analysis. The geophysical data revealed that the larger dunes almost entirely consist of steeply laminated facies. Most importantly the pseudo-3D data, supported by geostatistical estimates of strata dip directions, revealed the existence of three zones parallel to the coastline with the mean dip direction almost perpendicular to the coast in the northern coastal strip and almost parallel to it in the southern part. Spreads of the dip directions in pseudo-3D GPR data sets recorded on the stoss slopes of dunes and crests suggested initial deposition on transverse dunes, which later were transformed into barchanoid dunes. This can probably be linked to changes in the wind regime, i.e. reduction in velocity of the northern and northwestern winds leading to reduced sediment supply from the coast. While the data provide a new interpretation of Holocene dunefield dynamics at this site, they also suggest that the minimum number of pseudo-3D GPR grids required to establish general trends using geostatistical analysis should be at least 10, with even more data needed at larger, or more complex dunefields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-485
JournalBoreas
Volume46
Issue number3
Early online date25 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

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