The sequence of quaternary fluvial terraces of the Alcanadre river (Huesca): characterization and paleoenvironmental aspects

Mikel Calle, Carlos Sancho, J. L. Peña, P. Cunha, Belén Oliva-Urcia, Emilio L. Pueyo


A very extensive sequence of Quaternary fluvial terraces composed of nine strath levels (from Qt1 to Qt9) has been recognized in the Alcanadre River valley (Ebro basin, Huesca province). New mapping, altimetric, stratigraphic, pedogenic and chronological data have been supplied. A braided fluvial sedimentary environment is deduced. The confinement of the fluvial system increases as a response to drainage incision. Pedogenic carbonate morphology reaches highest development (stage VI) with the age. Palaeomagnetic data indicate that, tentatively, the age of Qt1 is near 1000 ky and the age of Qt2 is around 780 ky. In addition, numerical ages of Qt5, Qt6 and Qt7 are 44 ± 2 ky, 19 ± 2 ky and 10 ± 1 ky respectively by using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). This Upper Pleistocene chronology matches well with the regional fluvial chronostratigraphy recorded in non-glaciated river valleys. It is correlated to cold periods MIS3, LGM and YD at global scale. In a palaeoenvironmental scenario dominated by periglacial conditions, fluvial aggradation is enhanced by high sediment supply from slopes and a seasonal behaviour of rainfalls.


fluvial terraces, climatic change, Pleistocene, External Ranges-Ebro basin,


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