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5th Meeting Egmond aan Zee (Netherlands) 2009 – Conference Report


5th Meeting Egmond aan Zee (Netherlands) 2009 – Conference Report

A joint INQUA – IGCP 495 Meeting

International Conference and Field Trip on:

Decadal to Millennium-Scale Land-Ocean Interactions in the Geological Record: Blueprints for the 21st century?

Egmond aan Zee (Netherlands)

21st – 24th June, 2009

INQUA Commission on Coastal and Marine Processes

IGCP Project 495 – Quaternary Land-Ocean Interactions: Driving Mechanisms and Coastal Responses

Conference participants at the Slufter tidal inlet, Texel Island

Conference Report

 The coastal resort of Egmond aan Zee, about 30 km northwest of Amsterdam, was the relaxed venue of this conference, which was splendidly organised by Sytze van Heteren (Deltares, Utrecht) and Henk Weerts (Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency). As is customary with these annual meetings, we met on a Sunday afternoon for an ice breaker and socialising. Dinner was followed by a quiz (‘Who wrote what?’) in which several conference participants, in particular Michael Tooley and David Smith, showed off their knowledge of the classic literature on sea-level and coastal studies.

The Monday was dedicated to four oral sessions. These were structured in a geographical sense: ‘The Great Beyond’, ‘Closer to Home’, ‘The UK’, ‘Germany and the Low Countries’. The first session was kicked off by Joe Kelley who presented submerged archaeological evidence from the coast of Maine (USA). Alex Wright spoke on sea-level records from eastern USA salt marshes. He was followed by Sarah Woodroffe who explored eustatic evidence in sea-level data from the Seychelles. Antony Long concluded the first session with a talk on the neoglacial history of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The ‘Closer to Home’ session contained presentations on the coastal evolution of Cyprus (Vanessa Heyvaert), sea-level changes on the Atlantic coast of SW Europe (Eduardo Leorri), Denmark (Katie Szkornik) and the North Sea (Kim Cohen). In the UK session, speakers were Wil Marshall (on 210Pb dating), Roland Gehrels (on late Holocene and future sea levels), Jason Kirby (on Bridgwater Bay, Somerset) and Phill Teasdale (on the Adur Estuary, Sussex). The final session included a revision of the Holocene German sea-level curve (Henk Weerts) and a talk on the geoarchaeology of the Belgian coastal plain (Cecile Baeteman). The talk by Marc Hijma on evidence for a 8.2 ka sea-level ‘jump’ was noteworthy because it enticed the great Dutch sea-level researcher Saskia Jelgersma to attend. She is now well into her eighties and lives in nearby Bergen aan Zee. Her presence struck a chord with participants as she is affectionately known as ‘the mother of Dutch sea-level research’. The session was concluded by Sytze van Heteren, who discussed storm-surge evidence in the Dutch coastal dunes.

After dinner, Sytze recalled the careers of Orson van de Plassche and Dirk Beets, two well-known Dutch coastal researchers who had recently passed away.

On Tuesday we travelled to Texel, the westernmost island of the Frisian barrier island chain. We walked a transect through 600 years of coastal accretion in the southwestern part of the island and explored its remarkable dynamic sedimentary history with the benefit of Sytze’s expertise. The history of coastal evolution was underpinned by a chronology of many OSL dates. The afternoon was spent on the northwestern part of Texel, where the Slufter is an impressive coastal inlet containing huge salt marshes, one of only a few natural coastal systems left in the Netherlands. In the evening we travelled back to the mainland and enjoyed a great conference dinner in Castricum aan Zee.

The final morning of the meeting was again spent in the field. We cored barrier and tidal flat deposits near Bergen and walked through the highest Dutch dunes near Schoorl. By lunch time conference participants were dropped off at Schiphol Airport to catch their flights home.

This was the final regional meeting of IGCP Project 495. The INQUA CMP group will meet in June 2010 in Sussex (UK). Stay tuned for further announcements.

Roland Gehrels.