Paleogeography and sedimentary filling of the Paleo Elbe Valley
In the North Sea basin past glacial advances and retreats left complex sequences of glacio-fluvial and sub-glacial deposits — cut by sub-glacial tunnel valleys. Nowadays, the submerged Paleo-Elbe valley is the most prominent structure in the southern North Sea (~10,000 km²). It is presumed that the depression was formed by epeirogenic movement during the Tertiary period. The present form of the valley developed during the Weichselian sea-level lowstand (130 m below present). Melt waters flowing in north-westerly direction have fed the Paleo-Elbe at that time. During the Holocene, the valley became flooded and subsequently submerged by the rising sea level. Here we use a combination of high-resolution shallow-seismic and sidescan-sonar data and a set of sediment cores to elucidate the development of the Paleo Elbe valley in detail. This includes the process of sedimentary infill during the Holocene sea level rise.