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Revision of river terrace geochronology in the Orawa-Nowy Targ Depression, south Poland : insights from OSL dating

  • Janusz Olszak
  • Józef Kukulak
  • Helena Alexanderson
Publishing year: 2016-11-01
Language: English
Pages: 595-605
Publication/Series: Proceedings of the Geologists' Association
Volume: 127
Issue: 5
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Geochronologies of intramontane depression (basin) fluvial sedimentation enable to identify through time periods of alluviation and river erosion, and date fault movement. For these purposes the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating has been applied to evaluate and to develop a geochronological framework of river terraces. We study the age of river terrace deposits of the Czarny Dunajec River and its tributaries, in the Orawa-Nowy Targ Depression situated at the contact of the Central and the Outer Carpathians; where alluvial sediment ages were derived mainly from morphostratigraphic dating. Thorough careful analysis our approach demonstrates that the OSL dates differ markedly from the previous age assignments. Alluvium of the terrace elevated 5.5–6.0 m above the present-day valley floor, in terms of cementation and lithology resembling sediments described as pre-Pleistocene, was found to have been deposited ∼34 ka ago (MIS 3). Sediments of the lower terraces, 3 m and 3.5 m high, similar in elevation and internal structure to those of the Holocene terraces, are most likely of MIS 3 and MIS 2 ages, respectively. The architecture of the terraces introduces climate as a dominant driver for terrace formation at the southern border of the depression. We conclude that the morphostratigraphic approach appears insufficient for reliable dating of river terraces, especially in areas where they might be affected by young tectonic movements. Comprehensive and credible chronostratigraphy of fluvial deposits is required, particularly in the studies of the history of the fluvial systems and seismic hazard in the Carpathians.


  • Geology
  • Carpathians
  • Morphostratigraphy
  • Orawa-Nowy Targ Depression
  • OSL dating
  • River terraces


  • ISSN: 0016-7878
Helena Alexandersson
E-mail: helena [dot] alexanderson [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se


Quaternary Sciences

+46 46 222 44 83



Aeolian sand project

Project members
Members of the aeolian sand project: Martin Bernhardson, Sara Florén, Edyta Kalińska-Nartiša and Helena Alexanderson.

Read more about the project here.