The papers of this Special Issue give remarkable new results and conclusions on loess from Europe underlining the excellence of loess archives for past climate and environment reconstructions from a local and regional perspective and their relationship to a more global interpretation (Frechen 2011 a, b). Loess is a clastic predominantly silt-sized sediment, which is formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. According to Pye (1995) four fundamental requirements are necessary for it formation: a dust source, adequate wind energy to transport the dust, a suitable accumulation area, and a sufficient amount of time. During the Quaternary, loess and loess-like sediments were formed in periglacial environments on mid-continental shield areas in Europe and Siberia, on the margins of high mountain ranges like in Tajikistan and on semi-arid margins of some lowland deserts like in China.
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