ESR 6 - Impacts of climatic changes on fluvial sediment fluxes in north western Europe: the Middle and Late Pleistocene Meuse river system

Objectives: Following the Mid-Pleistocene Climate Revolution, which occurred around 900.000 years ago, intensification of glacialinterglacial cycles had major impacts on Northwest European fluvial systems. Increased sediment fluxes and severe grain-size coarsening are reported from these fluvial systems. However, insights on the effects of these climatic changes at catchment scale are still limited. This project aims to asses sediment grain-size, sediment provenance, sediment erosional/deposition and sediment volumetric changes in the Meuse River catchment during the last four glacial-interglacial climate cycles starting about 450.000 years ago. We will measure changes in erosional fluxes with support of concentrations of in-situ 10Be, which we will measure on detrital material collected from sedimentary cores. The results will improve insights in general fluvial system behaviour and associated source to sink responses as a response to climate change.

Expected Results:


In this project we will first map and characterize sediment grain-size distributions, provenance change and terrace incision versus aggradation from the upstream regions in France and Belgium to the downstream regions in the Netherlands. Second, the mapped data will be set in a temporal framework using cosmogenic dating allowing for assessing temporal and spatial variations in these parameters during the last four glacial-interglacial cycles. Third, volumetric sediment changes in the Meuse catchment will be analyzed for each cycle, allowing to establish upstream-to downstream sediment budget variation through time. This allows, for the first time, a quantitative assessment of the source-to-sink routing system in relation to change in climate cyclicity.


  • University of Bern (F. Schlunegger) - Cosmogenic dating of Meuse terraces and depocenters (5 months)
  • TNO – Dutch Geological Survey (F.S. Busschers, R.Bouroullec) – Mapping and characterizing Meuse depocenters, final synthesis map and depocenters (5 months)




S2S-FUTURE project gathers an outstanding European research and training network of 15 PhD students, hosted at world-leading academic institutions and industrial companies, whose aim is to develop the S2S paradigm as a powerful vector for understanding sedimentary accumulations as natural resources.

The project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860383.