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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Westaway, R., Cordier, S. & Bridgland, D.R. Étude du soulèvement pléistocene dans le nord-est de la France et le sud-ouest de l’Allemagne d’après les terrasses du bassin de la Moselle: relation avec les propriétés crustales.=Study of Pleistocene uplift in NE France and SW Germany from the terraces of the River Moselle: relation to crustal properties. Quaternaire. 2009;20:49-61.

Author(s) from Durham


The fluvial terraces of the Meurthe-Moselle provide a record of uplift in northeastern France and southwestern Germany dating back to the Pliocene. The uplift has amounted to ~120 m since the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution in climate at ~0.9 Ma, with ~160 m estimated since ~2 Ma and ~180 m estimated since the end of the Mid-Pliocene climatic optimum at ~3.1 Ma. The uplift has occurred in phases, each starting at a point in time that is established as a time of long-timescale climate change, suggesting that increased rates of surface processes associated with the climate change, principally, erosion, are the cause of the observed uplift. Numerical modelling supports this deduction, and also indicates that the abruptness of the start of each of the phases of uplift in this study region is a consequence of the thinness of the mobile lower-crustal layer, as a result of mafic underplating at the base of the crust. The Meurthe-Moselle record thus provides a clear case study demonstrating patterns of landscape response that are characteristic of much of Europe.

Department of Geography