Giant current ripples in the Kuray Basin, Altai, Russia

Diluvium is a term in geology for superficial deposits formed by flood-like operations of water, and so contrasted with alluvium or alluvial deposits formed by slow and steady aqueous agencies. The term was formerly given to the boulder clay deposits, supposed to have been caused by the Noachian deluge.

Diluvial terrases in Central Altay Mountains, Katun River, Little Yaloman Village. July 2011

In the late 20th century Russian geologist Alexei Rudoy proposed the term "diluvium" for description of deposits created as a result of catastrophic outbursts of Pleistocene giant glacier-dammed lakes in intermontane basins of the Altai.[1] The largest of these lakes - Chuya and Kuray, had a volume of water in hundreds of cubic kilometers, and their discharge in peak hydrograph flow rate exceeded the maximum rates of the well-known Pleistocene Lake Missoula in North America. The term "diluvium" in the meaning of A. N. Rudoy has become accepted, and the process of diluvial morpholithogenesis can be found in modern textbooks.

Flood deposits of the Altai region

Nearly all intermountain depressions in southern Siberia and northern Mongolia hosted glacier-dammed lakes during the Pleistocene ice ages. Climatic changes and hydrostatic alterations of the ice dams were followed by repeated fillings and releases of the basin lakes. The lake outbursts had a cataclysmic character. In accordance with climatic conditions, the glaciers would protrude again into the main drainage valleys immediately after dam deformations and lake outbursts and would again dam the basins.

The greatest of the lakes (Lakes Chuya, Kuray, Uymon, Darkhat and others) achieved volumes up to hundreds of cubic kilometres, while the discharges of the outburst floods reached millions of cubic metres per second. These floods transformed the drainage valleys, repeatedly building new sediment deposits. The dating of the latter proves the occurrence of large-scale floods in the Chuya and the Katun River valleys in the interval between 23 and 7 thousand years ago. During that period there were at least five large-scale flooding events. Enormous water masses were drained simultaneously and repeatedly towards the south of West Siberia. The total water volume out of the Altai basins only used to reach 10 thousand cubic kilometres. With some periodicity, all of the basins of South Siberia were able to deliver northwards about 60 thousand cubic kilometres of flood waters [2].

See also


  1. ^ Lee, Keenan, 2004, The Altai Flood
  2. ^ Rudoy A.N. Mountain Ice-Dammed Lakes of Southern Siberia and their Influence on the Development and Regime of the Runoff Systems of North Asia in the Late Pleistocene. Chapter 16. (P. 215—234.) — Palaeohydrology and Environmental Change / Eds: G. Benito, V.R. Baker, K.J. Gregory. — Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 1998. 353 p.

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  • diluvium — [ dilyvjɔm ] n. m. • 1834; diluvion 1846; angl. diluvium (1819); mot lat. « déluge » ♦ Géol. Ensemble des alluvions des fleuves formés à l époque quaternaire. diluvium n. m. GEOL Terrain formé au quaternaire par des alluvions fluviales. ⇒DILUVIUM …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Diluvium — I. Diluvium II …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Diluvium — Di*lu vi*um, n.; pl. E. {Diluviums}, L. {Diluvia}. [L. diluvium. See {Dilute}, {Deluge}.] (Geol.) A deposit of superficial loam, sand, gravel, stones, etc., caused by former action of flowing waters, or the melting of glacial ice. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Diluvĭum — (hierzu Tafel »Diluvium I u. II«), auch Postpliocän, Pleistocän, Quaternär, Quartär genannt (letztere beiden Wörter gewöhnlich für D. und Alluvium gemeinschaftlich gebraucht), das alte Schwemmland, ist eine ebenso weitverbreitete wie wichtige… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Diluvium — Diluvium, Diluvialperiode, formation, system, Pleistocän z. T., Postpliocän, Quartärperiode, system, formation werden in der Erdgeschichte diejenigen Ablagerungen genannt, deren Entstehungszeit zwischen die Tertiärzeit und die Gegenwart fällt.… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Diluvĭum — (lat.),)) Überschwemmung; daher Diluvialisch, auf eine Überschwemmung sich beziehend; 2) die sogenannte Sündfluth; 3) (Geol. u. Geogn., Diluviale Gebilde), die vor der geschichtlichen Zeit durch die letzte große Erdrevolution entstandene… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Diluvium — Diluvĭum (lat.), Überschwemmung, Wasserflut; in der Geologie die Ablagerungen der Eiszeit (s.d.), die der Gegenwart (dem Alluvium) unmittelbar vorausgegangene Periode, von dem vom N. her bis Mitteleuropa vorgedrungenen Inlandeise (nordisches D.)… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Diluvium — Diluvium, altes Alluvium. Die Diluvialgebilde sind außerordentlich verbreitet, durch große Fluthen über ganze Länder abgelagert u. haben nicht selten Bergketten überstiegen; sie liegen stets unter dem Alluvium, mit welchem sie nie wechsellagern,… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Diluvium — Diluvium, Pleistozän, Eiszeitalter ⇒ Quartär …   Deutsch wörterbuch der biologie

  • diluvium — [di lo͞o′vēəm] n. pl. diluviums or diluvia [di lo͞o′vēə] [L, a deluge < diluere: see DILUTE] Geol. former term for glacial DRIFT (n. 10): it was originally thought to have been caused by a great flood, esp. the Deluge …   English World dictionary