Seasonal deposition of Holocene banded sediments in the Severn Estuary Levels (southwest Britain): palynological and sedimentological evidence
Dark, P. and Allen, J. R. L. (2005) Seasonal deposition of Holocene banded sediments in the Severn Estuary Levels (southwest Britain): palynological and sedimentological evidence. Quaternary Science Reviews, 24 (1-2). pp. 11-33. ISSN 0277-3791
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.08.001
Banded sediments outcrop widely in the intertidal zone of the Severn Estuary and have been suggested, on the basis of textural analysis, to have formed in response to seasonal variations in sea temperature and windiness (Holocene, 14 (2004) 536). Here palynological and sedimentological analyses of banded sediments of mid-Holocene date from Gold Cliff, on the Welsh side of the Severn Estuary, are combined to test and further develop the hypothesis of seasonal deposition. Pollen percentage and concentration data are presented from a short sequence of bands to establish whether textural variations in the bands coincide with variations in pollen content reflecting seasonal flowering patterns. It is shown that fine-grained band parts contain higher total pollen concentrations, and a higher proportion of pollen from late spring- to summer-flowering plants, than coarse-grained band parts. Pollen in the coarser deposits appears primarily to reflect deposition from the buffering `reservoir' of suspended pollen in the estuarine water-body and from rivers, when there is little pollen in the air in winter, while the finer sediments contain pollen deposited from the atmosphere during the flowering season, superimposed on these `background' sources. The potential of such deposits for refining chronologies and identifying seasonality of coastal processes is noted, and the results of charcoal particle analysis of the bands presented as an example of how they have the potential to shed light on seasonal and annual patterns of human activity. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.