Past hydrological events reflected in the Holocene fluvial record of Europe

M. G. Macklin, G. Benito, K. J. Gregory, E. Johnstone, John Lewin, D. J. Michczynska, R. Soja, L. Starkel, V. R. Thornycraft

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278 Citations (SciVal)


A comprehensive database of radiocarbon dated fluvial units in Great Britain, Poland and Spain has been compiled to investigate the relationship between environmental change, flooding and Holocene river dynamics. Following the methodology recently developed by Macklin and Lewin [Macklin, M.G., Lewin, J., 2003. River sediments, great floods and centennial-scale Holocene climate change. Journal of Quaternary Science 18, 101–105], radiocarbon dates in fluvial sequences that coincide with a modification in sedimentation rate, or style, have been highlighted, allowing geomorphologically significant changes in Holocene river activity to be identified. Data analysis has been undertaken at both national and sub-national scales, and on catchments of different size, type and land-use history. Multiple phases of higher flood frequency, characterized by accelerated erosion and sediment deposition on floodplains, are recognized and compared with a range of climate proxies. The relative and varying roles of climate and land-use on river dynamics are considered and the value of the database for reconstructing past hydrological events, as well as for predicting river response to future environmental change, is assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
Issue number1-2
Early online date14 Feb 2006
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2006


  • river floods
  • 14C dating
  • fluvial sediments
  • environmental change
  • Europe


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