Sterksel Formation

Formal (Zonneveld 1958). Amended (Doppert et al. 1975; Westerhoff 2003).
Lithological description

Greyish brown medium to very coarse sand, gravelly, micaceous, pink and multi-coloured sand and gravel components, unstable heavy minerals, fining northwestward. Grey to bluish grey clay, silty, local sand lamination. Subordinate lags of greyish brown to reddish multi-coloured granules and pebbles.

Depositional setting

Braided and meandering fluvial (Rhine and Meuse), including channel, bar, cut-off meander, oxbow lake and crevasse.

Definition of lower boundary

Commonly marked by a lag deposit, and In its southern range by reddish brown precipitation of iron hydroxides. Unconformable, generally sharp contact with paler and finer (more clayey) fluvial sand (Appelscha, Stramproy, Peize and Waalre Formations) or with finer pre-Quaternary units (fluvial Kieseloolite Formation and various marine units).

Definition of upper boundary

Unconformable, commonly sharp contact with paler, coarser and more gravelly fluvial sand (Beegden, Urk and Kreftenheye Formations), heterogeneous glacial sediment (Drente Formation), shelly marine sand (Eem Formation), much finer periglacial sand (Boxtel Formation) or ice-pushed units. Locally, the transition into the Urk and Kreftenheye Formations is diffuse.

Thickness indication
Up to about 60 m in the Roer Valley Graben, up to about 15 m elsewhere.
Geographical distribution
Regional correlation
North Sea: upper fluvial part of Yarmouth Roads Formation (defined and mapped in conjunction with the British Geological Survey; Long et al. 1988); UK: upper fluvial part of Yarmouth Roads Formation; GER: Jüngere Hauptterrasse (Boenigk 1978; Klostermann 1992; Zagwijn 1985); BEL: Sterksel Formation (Lommel and Bocholt members; Gullentops et al. 2001).
late early Pleistocene - Middle Pleistocene.
Depth (thickness) AH:
21 - 71 m (50 m) below land surface
Depth (thickness) AH:
33.27 - 47.83 m (14.56 m) below land surface
Origin of name
Named after the village of Sterksel in the southeastern Netherlands.
Previous name(s)
Originally a mineral zone (Zonneveld 1947), later a formation (Zagwijn 1957).
Reviewed by (date)
Wim Dubelaar (2018), Sytze van Heteren (2019).
Boenigk, W. 1978. Gliederung der altquartären Ablagerungen in der Niederrheinischen Bucht. Fortschritte in der Geologie von Rheinland und Westfalen, 28, 135-212.
Doppert, J.W.Chr., Ruegg, G.H.J., Van Staalduinen, C.J., Zagwijn, W.H., Zandstra, J.G. 1975. Formaties van het Kwartair en Boven-Tertiair in Nederland. In: Zagwijn, W.H., Van Staalduinen, C.J. (eds.): Toelichting bij geologische overzichtskaarten van Nederland. Rijks Geologische Dienst, Haarlem, 11-56.
Gullentops, F., Bogemans, F., De Moor, G., Paulissen, E., Pissart, A. 2001. Quaternary lithostratigraphic units (Belgium). In: Bultynck, P., Dejonghe, L. (eds.), Guide to a revised lithostratigraphic scale of Belgium, Geologica Belgica, 4/1-2, 153-164.
Klostermann, J. 1992. Das Quartär der Niederrheinischen Bucht. Geologisches Landesamt Nordrhein-Westfalen, Krefeld, 200 p.
Long, D., Laban, C., Streif, H., Cameron, T.D.J., Schüttenhelm, R.T.E. 1988. The sedimentary record of climatic variation in the southern North Sea. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London B, 318 (1191), 523-537.
Westerhoff, W.E. 2003. Beschrijving lithostratigrafische eenheid. Nederlands Instituut voor Toegepaste Geowetenschappen TNO. Utrecht.
Zagwijn, W.H. 1957. Vegetation, climate and time-correlations in the early Pleistocene of Europe. Geologie en Mijnbouw, Nieuwe Serie 19, 233-244.
Zagwijn, W.H. 1985. An outline of the Quaternary stratigraphy of the Netherlands. Geologie en Mijnbouw, 64, 17-24.
Zonneveld, J.I.S. 1947. Het kwartair van het Peelgebied en naaste omgeving. Een sedimentpetrologische studie. Mededelingen Geologische Stichting, Serie C-VI-3, 1-223.
Zonneveld, J.I.S. 1958. Litho-stratigrafische eenheden in het Nederlandse Pleistoceen. Mededelingen van de Geologische Stichting, Nieuwe Serie 12, 31-64.
Cite as
TNO-GDN ([YEAR]). Sterksel Formation. In: Stratigraphic Nomenclature of the Netherlands, TNO – Geological Survey of the Netherlands. Accessed on [DATE] from