EGU22-5513, updated on 21 Jun 2023
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Retreat of the Rhine Glacier from Lake Constance: Sedimentological and geochemical evidence from a deep-basin sediment core

Sebastian Schaller1, Michael E. Böttcher2,3,4, Marius W. Buechi1, Laura S. Epp5, Stefano C Fabbri1, Natacha Gribenski1, Ulrich Harms6, Sebastian Krastel7, Alina Liebezeit2,3, Katja Lindhorst7, Hanna Marxen, Ulli Raschke8, David Schleheck5, Iris Schmiedinger2, Antje Schwalb9, Hendrik Vogel1, Martin Wessels10, and Flavio S. Anselmetti1
Sebastian Schaller et al.
  • 1Institute of Geological Sciences and Oeschger Centre of Climate Change Research, Universität Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Geochemistry & Isotope Biogeochemistry, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW), Warnemünde, Germany
  • 3Marine Geochemistry, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  • 4Department of Maritime Systems, Interdisciplinary Faculty, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany
  • 5Limnologisches Institut, Universität Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
  • 6Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 7Institut für Geowissenschaften, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 8Dept. Stratigraphy and Geoinformation, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Berlin, Germany
  • 9Institute of Geosystems and Bioindication, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany
  • 10Institut für Seenforschung (ISF) der Landesanstalt für Umwelt Baden-Württemberg (LUBW), Langenargen, Germany

The modern, over 250-m-deep basin of Lake Constance represents the underfilled northern part of an over 400-m-deep, glacially overdeepened trough, which reaches well into the Alps at its southern end. The overdeepening was formed by repeated glacial advance-retreat cycles of the Rhine Glacier throughout the Middle to Late Pleistocene. A seismic survey of Lake Constance revealed a Quaternary sediment fill of more than 150 m thickness representing at least the last glacial cycle. The stratified sedimentary fill consists at the base of ice-contact deposits on top of the molasse bedrock, overlain by glaciolacustrine to lacustrine sediments. During the successful field test of a newly developed, mid-size coring system ("HIPERCORIG"), the longest core (HIBO19) ever taken in Lake Constance was retrieved with an overall length of 24 m. The sediments recovered consist of a nearly continuous succession of lacustrine silts and sands including more than 12 m of Late Glacial sediment at the base. 14 lithotypes were identified through petrophysical and geochemical analyses. In combination with a 14C- and OSL-based age-depth model, the core was divided into three main chronostratigraphic units. The basal age of ~13.7 ka BP dates the base of the succession back to the Bølling-Allerød interstadial, with overlying strata representing a complete and thick Younger-Dryas to Holocene succession. The sediments offer a high-resolution insight into the evolution of paleo-Lake Constance from a cold, postglacial to a more productive, warm Holocene lake. The Late Glacial succession is dominated by massive, m-thick sand beds reflecting episodic sedimentation pulses. They are most likely linked to a subaquatic channel system originating in the river Seefelder Aach, which is, despite the Holocene drape, still apparent in today's lake bathymetry. The overlying Holocene succession reveals a prominent, several cm-thick, double-turbiditic event layer representing the most distal impact of the Flimser Bergsturz, the largest known rockslide of the Alps that occurred over 100 km upstream the river Rhine at ~9.5 ka BP. Furthermore, lithologic variations in the Holocene succession document the varying sediment loads of the river Rhine and the endogenic production representing a multitude of environmental changes.


How to cite: Schaller, S., Böttcher, M. E., Buechi, M. W., Epp, L. S., Fabbri, S. C., Gribenski, N., Harms, U., Krastel, S., Liebezeit, A., Lindhorst, K., Marxen, H., Raschke, U., Schleheck, D., Schmiedinger, I., Schwalb, A., Vogel, H., Wessels, M., and Anselmetti, F. S.: Retreat of the Rhine Glacier from Lake Constance: Sedimentological and geochemical evidence from a deep-basin sediment core, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5513,, 2022.


Display file