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Erosion surfaces in the ardenne–oesling and their associated kaolinic weathering mantle

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This chapter deals with the long-term geomorphology of the Paleozoic Ardenne–Oesling massif of S Belgium and the landforms that currently attest the very long persistence and high resistance to erosion of landscape elements created as far back in time as the Lower Cretaceous in a region of predominantly continental regime and constant low to moderate elevation since the Permian. We first present recent results regarding the antiquity of kaolinic weathering mantles preserved in four sites on or close to the plateau surfaces characteristic of the Ardennian landscape, showing that they record at least three main weathering phases, namely in the Early Cretaceous (extending in the early Late Cretaceous), the Late Paleocene, and the Early Miocene. Then, having provided a working definition of the erosion surface and listed criteria helping recognize them in the landscape, we focus on the Hautes Fagnes massif, the highest NE part of the Ardenne–Oesling. We describe the geometric and sedimentary evidence that allow one to recognize a succession of four erosion surfaces formed during the Cretaceous and the Cenozoic and reconstruct the morphogenetic evolution of the area that responded to the variable interplay of the marine transgression-regression, climatic, and tectonic controls. Finally, we present the few estimates of long-term denudation rates available for the Ardenne massif, fission track and cosmogenic nuclide studies both suggesting Cenozoic denudation rates in the order of a few 10 m/Myr, and comment on their compatibility with field observations.




Demoulin, A., Barbier, F., Dekoninck, A., Verhaert, M., Ruffet, G., Dupuis, C., & Yans, J. (2018). Erosion surfaces in the ardenne–oesling and their associated kaolinic weathering mantle. In World Geomorphological Landscapes (pp. 63–84). Springer Science and Business Media B.V.

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