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Holocene drainage systems of the English Fenland : roddons and their environmental significance

By Dinah M. Smith, Jan A. Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Ian P. Wilkinson, Martin Redding and Crane Begg


The roddons of the English Fenlands are fossilised silt and sand-filled tidal creek systems of mid- to late-Holocene age, incised into contemporaneous clay deposits. However, anthropogenic change (drainage and agriculture) has caused the former channels to become positive topographical features. Three stratigraphically discrete generations of roddon have been discriminated. They all show well-developed dendritic meander patterns, but there is little or no evidence of sand/silt infill during meandering; thus, unlike modern tidal creeks and rivers they typically lack laterally stacked point bar deposits, suggesting rapid infill. Major “trunk” roddons are rich in fine sands and there is little change in grain size from roddon mouth to the upper reaches, suggesting highly effective sand transport mechanisms and uniform conditions of deposition. Tributaries are silt-rich, while minor tributaries also have a significant clay component. During infill, active drainage networks appear to have been choked by sediment, converting mudflat/salt-marsh environments into widespread peat-forming freshwater reed swamps.\ud \u

Topics: Earth Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2010.06.002
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