'Hardcastle Hollows' in loess landforms: Closed depressions in aeolian landscapes - in a geoheritage context
journal contributionposted on 10.07.2019, 15:40 by Roger Fagg, Ian Smalley
Loess landscapes sometimes contain isolated depressed areas, which often appear as lakes. The outline shape (and distribution) of these depressions could be controlled by random processes, particularly if the depressions are caused by loess hydroconsolidation and ground subsidence. By applying the Zingg system of shape classification it is possible to propose a mean random shape for the closed depressions. A Zingg rectangle with a side ratio of about 2:1 is produced by a very simple Monte Carlo method, which had been used previously to calculate the mean random shape of a loess particle. The Zingg rectangle indicates the basic shape of the mean closed depression. A simple four stage process for the formation of the depressions is proposed. They might be called ‘Hardcastle Hollows’ in honour of John Hardcastle who first reported them, in New Zealand. Studies on Ukrainian deposits suggest that there might be some stratigraphic value in the observation of closed depressions; they are often not superimposed in successive depositions of loess. Hydroconsolidation is important in landscape processes. The hollows provide interesting habitats and enlarge the ecological interest of loess deposits; the geoheritage scene is enhanced.