In temperate regions, eolian deposits of different natures are often pedogenically-altered and mixed with underlying sediments. The research reported in this paper identifies for the first time the presence of eolian deposits in soils of central Tuscany and investigates the characteristics and origin. Five relict, polycyclic paleosol profiles were studied. P1 was situated in a natural dust trap, a doline on top of an isolated limestone hill; P2 and P3 were both situated on a limestone plateau, and P4 and P5 on a mid- and foot slope on schist. The profiles were sampled for routine analyses, iron forms, heavy minerals, major and trace elements, and pollen, spores and non-pollen palynomorphs. Undisturbed samples were taken for micromorphological and SEM analyses. Nine soil horizons were sampled for OSL dating. Eolian deposits were dominant or abundant in the first layers of P1, P2 and P3. OSL age determinations of soil horizons deriving from eolian parent material were middle Holocene. Chemical and heavy mineral analyses indicated different possible sources, including bare slopes, alluvial fans and wide channels, coming from the nearby streams that drain the Middle Tuscany ridge and the Mounts of Chianti; marginal contribution of volcanic ashes was only found in P1. The research demonstrated that wind soil erosion accompanied water erosion and colluvial deposition during the middle Holocene in the Elsa River basin. Pollen spectra, in particular, indicated that soil degradation occurred in an environment showing signs of incipient desertification, resulting from an increase of aridity in a land already strongly influenced by humans. Although central Italy is currently considered to be only marginally affected by wind soil erosion, a climate change, which would imply increased arid conditions, could trigger a new cycle of slope denudation, wind erosion and loess deposition.
|Titolo:||Multidisciplinary characterization of the middle Holocene eolian deposits of the Elsa River basin (central Italy)|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore GEO/04 - Geografia Fisica e Geomorfologia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2009|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.quaint.2009.02.025|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|