During the Quaternary vast amounts of sediments were deposited in the valleys and basins of the Alps and their foreland. These gravels, sands, silts and clays not only represent economically important raw materials and harbour major groundwater resources; they are also an archive of those profound climatic changes whose rhythm of glacials and interglacials shaped the Alpine landscape. The principal challenge in reading this archive is establishing its precise chronology.
This project aims at applying a relatively new and exciting geochronological technique to date Late Quaternary sediments in the Eastern Alps: optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). The region of the Unterangerberg terrace in the lower Inn Valley in western Austria was the study area. Drill cores became available which provided a unique opportunity to examine this area for the first time. By applying the OSL technique and radiocarbon dating in conjunction with a multiproxy approach (sedimentology, pollen) this unique core material permitted new insights into the Pleistocene geology and history in this part of the Eastern Alps.
Project title: The Austrian Alps during the last glacial cycle (FWF, P20858-N10). Duration 2008-2012
P.i.: Christoph Spötl
PhD student: Reinhard Starnberger
External collaborators: Paula Reimer (Queen´s University Belfast), Jürgen Reitner (Austrian Geological Survey), Ruth Drescher-Schneider (Graz)
See publication by Starnberger et al. (QSR, 2013)