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A new model of the base of Quaternary deposits in Northwest Germany

The high-energy processes during the Elsterian glacial stage have formed a diverse relief of the base Quaternary with buried tunnel valleys, which are cut between a few tens of meters up to 400 m into the Tertiary bedrock sediments (Kuster & Meyer 1979). The Quaternary deposits host large groundwater reservoirs and are an important source for mining sand and gravel. The buried tunnel valleys also help to predict the erosion depth of future glaciations in the context of finding a site for a repository for radioactive waste in Germany. Therefore, it is crucial to provide a comprehensive geological model of the base Quaternary in order to support planning strategies in sustainable resource extraction and land use.

Kuster & Meyer (1995) published a contour map of the base Quaternary in Lower Saxony. Since then a vast number of new datasets were obtained. We started modelling a 3D surface based on these new datasets and the original contour map by Kuster & Meyer (1995) using SKUA-GOCAD™ (AspenTech). Here, we are presenting the first completed sub-region of this model, pointing out both the major advances that we achieved by integrating new borehole and seismic data (2D/3D) as well as the challenges of data harmonization. We were able to identify tunnel valleys that were unknown before and to revise the geometry and depth of known subglacial channels. The depth of the base Quaternary was adjusted by up to 150 m in certain areas.


Ines Bruns1, Fischer Kerstin1, Meinsen Janine1, Wangenheim Cornelia1
1Landesamt für Bergbau, Energie und Geologie, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023