Glacial erosion has caused overdeepening of many alpine valleys. After retreat of the ice, they were filled with heterogeneous deposits of glacial, lacustrine and fluvial sediments. A typical example of such a valley segment and its infill is the Reuss delta on the southern shore of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. To obtain a detailed three-dimensional image of this valley segment, the ETH Institute of Geophysics has acquired several two-dimensional, high-resolution seismic and georadar profiles, and conducted a three-dimensional georadar survey. Interpretations of these geophysical data were constrained by a geological core extracted from a borehole 300 m deep near the investigation site. The seismic profiles imaged ca. 600 m of sediment infill above bedrock. Based on their reflection characteristics, five different deposition units were distinguished. These units were interpreted as a succession of clay/silt at the base, followed by different sand units with variable but generally increasing amounts of gravel. This succession represented a prograding delta that filled the southern part of Lake Lucerne. The latest fluvial development of the region is best represented by the georadar data. In particular, the three-dimensional georadar data set provides a detailed view of an ancient braided river channel Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.
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