Holocene sedimentary and environmental development of Aarhus Bay, Denmark - a multi-proxy study

Peter Rasmussen, George Pantopoulos, Jørn Bo Jensen, Jesper Olsen, Hans Røy, Ole Bennike

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Holocene sedimentation patterns and environmental development in Aarhus Bay, Denmark, were reconstructed based on proxy analyses of two sediment cores (M1 and M5). Together, the two cores offer an opportunity to examine the history of the area during the past c. 10 000 years. The investigation consisted of acoustic mapping and multi-proxy analyses of the sediment cores including macrofossils, sediment physical properties, sediment accumulation rates, grain size, and X-ray fluorescence elemental counts. Radiocarbon dating of the two sediment successions revealed that they cover the periods c. 10 000–3700 cal. a BP (M1) and c. 4400 cal. a BP to the present (M5). The data from the M1 site indicate the presence of a near-shore lake environment between c. 10 000 and 9000 cal. a BP. The first intrusion of marine water into the area is dated to c. 9000 cal. a BP. In the following c. 1300 years, brackish-water conditions prevailed in the area characterized by a mixture of taxa from marine, limnic and terrestrial habitats, reflecting a shallow estuarine environment. Around 7700 cal. a BP full marine conditions were established, accompanied by a marked increase in sedimentation rates. The changes to full marine conditions and higher sedimentation rates are probably due to a significant sea-level rise leading to flooding of former land areas and intensified erosion. A subsequent distinct decrease in sedimentation rates around 6350 cal. a BP is presumably linked to a previously documented sea-level drop about this time. Continuous sedimentation ceased around 3700 cal. a BP in the central part of the bay, most probably due to a major sea-level lowering involving widespread erosion. In the eastern and deeper part of the bay, sedimentation continued until today. Fully marine conditions prevailed there for at least the last 4400 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-128
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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