EGU22-7244, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Quaternary seismic stratigraphy of the Flemish Bight (southern North Sea): a re-evaluation

Ruth Plets1, Marc De Batist2, Tine Missiaen1, Maikel De Clercq3, David Garcia4, Thomas Mestdagh1, Wim Versteeg1, Simon Fitch5, Rachel Harding5, Vince Gaffney5, Freek Busschers6, and Sytze van Heteren6
Ruth Plets et al.
  • 1Flanders Marine Institute, Belgium (
  • 2Ghent University, Department of Geology, Belgium (
  • 3Jan De Nul Group, Belgium
  • 4DEME Group, Belgium
  • 5University of Bradford, School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, UK
  • 6Geological Survey of the Netherlands

New high-resolution seismic data (Sparker) and very-high-resolution parametric echosounder (PES) data acquired in an area of the southern North Sea (the Flemish Bight) reveal its Quaternary seismic stratigraphy in unprecedented detail. The identified seismo-stratigraphic units and geomorphological features have been examined with the view to better understand the Quaternary evolution of the southern North Sea.

Seven acoustic units were recognised, including Lower Pleistocene deltaic sediments, Eemian to lower Weichselian shallow marine to coastal (lagoonal) clay-silt-sands, and Holocene coastal peat layers overlain by intertidal and marine sediments. Four erosional events were identified, two of which can be traced as regionally occurring surfaces, and two occurring as localised incisions. Mapping of geomorphological features revealed potential Elsterian moraines in the UK sector, an Elsterian ice-pushed ridge in the Dutch sector and possible permafrost-related structures (probably dating to MIS3).  Seven newly dated peat samples, acquired near a tidal sand ridge known as the Brown Bank from depths between 31 m and 34 m below sea level and dating to between 9.5 and 10.9 cal ka BP, indicate that this area was terrestrial during the early Holocene.

The results form the basis to further improve the regional Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the area, to better understand the region’s (de)glacial history, to enhance sea-level reconstructions and to examine the area’s geographical importance for human occupation during Prehistory.

How to cite: Plets, R., De Batist, M., Missiaen, T., De Clercq, M., Garcia, D., Mestdagh, T., Versteeg, W., Fitch, S., Harding, R., Gaffney, V., Busschers, F., and van Heteren, S.: Quaternary seismic stratigraphy of the Flemish Bight (southern North Sea): a re-evaluation, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-7244,, 2022.


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