Abstract

—The paper considers the origin of terraces that often complicate the slopes of abnormally deep buried valleys in the northwest of the East European Plain. The Izborsk–Maly valley (Pskov Region, Russia), which is half filled with Quaternary sediments, was chosen as the object of study. Since the upper part of the valley remains unfilled, it is possible to study in detail both geologic and geomorphologic structures of its terraced slopes being of particular interest in the context of the origin of buried valleys and the role of substrate in it. The four denudation-terrace levels that have been identified on the slopes of the Izborsk–Maly valley at absolute elevations of 53, 56–58, 70–72, and 75–77 m formed during the destruction of the preglacial karst landscape under the influence of Pleistocene glaciations. The formation of the terraces was probably linked with several stages of overdeepening of the valley and its expansion by the glacial erosion processes, which corresponded to at least two stages of the ice sheet advance in this area. The last stage may have been the beginning of the Late Valdai (Weichselian) glaciation or the activation of the edge of an ice sheet during its Luga phase (~15.7 cal kyr BP). Results of the study suggest that the Izborsk–Maly valley formed in subglacial conditions. The degree of glacial erosion was determined primarily by the coherence of Devonian carbonate-terrigenous rocks hosting the valley and the degree of the area transformation by karst processes. The cirque shape of slopes is the evidence of karst processes expression in pre-glacial time. Analysis of literature data shows that the origin of denudation terraces in the buried valleys in the northwest of the East European Plain has been paid little attention. The obtained data contribute to the study of this problem and provide insights into the origin of buried valleys.

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