All publications
  2017 - Scholarly publications
Cohen, K.M., Westley, K., Erkens, G., Hijma, M.P. & Weerts, H.J.T. (2017). The North Sea. In N.C. Flemming, J. Harff, D. Moura, A. Burgess & G. Bailey (Eds.), Submerged Landscapes of the European Continental Shelf - Volume 1 Quaternary Paleoenvironments (pp. 147-186). New York: John Wiley & Sons Ltd..
Minderhoud, P.S.J., Erkens, G., van Pham, H., Bui, Vuong Tran, Erban, Laura, Kooi, Henk & Stouthamer, E. (01.06.2017). Impacts of 25 years of groundwater extraction on subsidence in the Mekong delta, Vietnam. Environmental Research Letters, 12 (064006).
  2017 - Professional publications
Cohen, K.M., Dambrink, R., de Bruijn, R., Marges, V.C., Erkens, G., Pierik, H.J., Koster, K., Stafleu, J, Schokker, J. & Hijma, M.P. (2017). Mapping buried Holocene landscapes - past lowland environments, palaeoDEMs and preservation in GIS. In R.C.G.M. Lauwerier, M.C. Eerden, B.J. Groenewoudt, M.A. Lascaris, E. Rensink, B.I. Smit, B.P. Speleers & J. van Doesburg (Eds.), Knowledge for Informed Choices - Tools for more effective and efficient selection of valuable archaeology in the Netherlands (pp. 73-95). Amersfoort: RCE.
Cohen, K.M., de Bruijn, R., Marges, V.C., de Vries, S., Pierik, H.J., Vos, P.C., Erkens, G. & Hijma, M.P. (2017). Vervaardiging van begraven landschapskaarten voor Holoceen afgedekt Nederland - Kaartlaag T0123 voor RCE’s Kenniskaart-portaal . (105 p.). Utrecht: Deltares.
  2016 - Scholarly publications
Erkens, Gilles, van der Meulen, Michiel J. & Middelkoop, Hans (2016). Double trouble: subsidence and CO2 respiration due to 1,000 years of Dutch coastal peatlands cultivation. Hydrogeology Journal, 24 (3), (pp. 551-568).
Koster, K., Erkens, G. & Zwanenburg, Cor (2016). A new soil mechanics approach to quantify and predict land subsidence by peat compression. Geophysical Research Letters
Minderhoud, P.S.J., Cohen, K.M., Toonen, W.H.J., Erkens, G. & Hoek, W.Z. (2016). Improving age-depth models of fluvio-lacustrine deposits using sedimentary proxies for accumulation rates. Quaternary Geochronology, 33, (pp. 35-45).
  2015 - Scholarly publications
Erkens, G. & Sutanudjaja, E. H. (2015). Towards a global land subsidence map. Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, 372, (pp. 83-87) (5 p.).
  2015 - Other output
Minderhoud, P.S.J., Erkens, G., van Pham, H., Vuong, & Stouthamer, E. (12.11.2015). Assessing the potential of the multi-aquifer subsurface of the Mekong Delta (Vietnam) for land subsidence due to groundwater extraction. (4 p.).
  2014 - Scholarly publications
Minderhoud, P.S.J., Stouthamer, E., van Asselen, S. & Erkens, G. (2014). Recommendations for monitoring and analyzing land subsidence for the Mekong delta and the Ho Chi Min city area, Vietnam. (5 p.).
  2014 - Professional publications
Cohen, K.M., Arnoldussen, S., Erkens, G., van Popta, Y.T. & Taal, L.J. (2014). Archeologische verwachtingskaart uiterwaarden rivierengebied. (184 p.). Utrecht: Deltares, i.s.m. Universiteit Utrecht en Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
  2014 - Other output
Cohen, K.M., Arnoldussen, S., Erkens, G., van Popta, Y.T. & Taal, L.J. (2014). Archeologische verwachtingskaart uiterwaarden rivierengebied.
  2013 - Scholarly publications
Hoffmann, T., Mudd, S. M., van Oost, K., Verstraeten, G., Erkens, G., Lang, A., Middelkoop, H., Boyle, J., Kaplan, J. O., Willenbring, J. & Aalto, R. (01.11.2013). Short Communication: Humans and the missing C-sink: erosion and burial of soil carbon through time. Earth Surface Dynamics, 1 (1), (pp. 45-52).
Middelkoop, Hans, van der Perk, Marcel & Erkens, Gilles (2013). Anthropogenic changes in sediment and nutrient retention in the Rhine delta. In T.S. Bianchi, M.A. Allison & W.-J. Cai (Eds.), Biogeochemical Dynamics at Large River-Coastal Interfaces: Linkages with Global Climate Change (pp. 629) (649 p.). New York: Cambridge UP.
  2011 - Scholarly publications
Erkens, G., Hoffmann, T., Gerlach, R. & Klostermann, J.E.M. (2011). Complex fluvial response to Lateglacial and Holocene allogenic forcing in the Lower Rhine Valley (Germany). Quaternary Science Reviews, 30 (Issue 5-6), (pp. 611-627) (17 p.).
Middelkoop, H., Erkens, G., Hobo, N. & van der Perk, M. (11.04.2011). The Rhine Delta: unravelling its 8000-yr history of sediment trapping. In H. Habersack, B. Schober & D. Walling (Eds.), Conference Abstract Book (pp. 122-122) (1 p.). Vienna, Austria, International Conference on the Status and Future of the World’s Large Rivers.
  2011 - Other output
G. Erkens (04.01.2011) Towards a decadal flood record of the River Rhine over the past 7000 years
  2010 - Scholarly publications
Middelkoop, H., van der Perk, M. & Erkens, G. (2010). The Rhine delta—a record of sediment trapping over time scales from millennia to decades. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 10, (pp. 628-639) (12 p.).
Middelkoop, Hans, Erkens, Gilles & van der Perk, Marcel (2010). The Rhine delta-a record of sediment trapping over time scales from millennia to decades. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 10 (4), (pp. 628-639).
  2010 - Other output
G. Erkens (30.09.2010) River mouth drowning under rapid sea level rise: Rhine delta geological lessons
G. Erkens (05.09.2010) The Rhine's Holocene deltaic re-annexation of the IJssel valley (Pleistocene, Netherlands)
  2009 - Scholarly publications
Brouwn, A.G., Carey, C., Erkens, G., Fuchs, M., Hoffmann, T., Macaire, J.-J., Moldenhauer, K.-M. & Walling, D.E. (2009). From sedimentary records to sediment budgets: Multiple approaches to catchment sediment flux. Geomorphology, 8 (1-2), (pp. 35-47) (13 p.).
Erkens, G. (2009). Sediment dynamics in the Rhine catchment - Quantification of fluvial response to climate change and human impact. Netherlands Geographical Studies, 388, (pp. 278 pp.).
Erkens, G., Cohen, K. M., Gouw, M. J P, Middelkoop, H. & Hoek, W. Z. (2009). Holocene sediment budgets of the Rhine delta (The Netherlands) - A record of changing sediment delivery. Nederlandse, Geografische Studies (388), (pp. 27-36) (10 p.).
Erkens, G., Dambeck, R., Volleberg, K.P., Gouw - Bouman, Marjolein, Bos, J.A.A., Cohen, K.M., Wallinga, J. & Hoek, W.Z. (2009). Fluvial terrace formation in the northern Upper Rhine Graben during the last 20 000 years as a result of allogenic controls and autogenic evolution. Geomorphology, 103, (pp. 476-495) (20 p.).
Frings, R.M., Berbee, B.M., Erkens, G., Kleinhans, M.G. & Gouw, M.J.P. (2009). Human-induced changes in bed shear stress and bed grain size in the River Waal (The Netherlands) during the past 900 years. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34 (4), (pp. 503-514) (12 p.).
Hoffmann, T., Erkens, G., Gerlach, R., Klostermann, J.E.M. & Lang, A. (2009). Trends and controls of Holocene floodplain sedimentation in the Rhine catchment. Catena, 77, (pp. 96-106) (11 p.).
  2009 - Popularising publications
Erkens, G. (05.12.2009). De Steentijd komt bij Lobith binnen. De Volkskrant [online]
Erkens, G. (04.12.2009). Prehistorische Duitser bouwde mee aan Nederland. Spits!
Erkens, G. (26.11.2009). Rijn al 9000 jaar onnatuurlijk. Nederlands Dagblad
  2009 - Other output
G. Erkens (20.09.2009) Quantification of intra-Holocene sedimentation in the Rhine-Meuse delta: a record of variable sediment delivery
  2007 - Scholarly publications
Gouw, M.J.P. & Erkens, G. (2007). Architecture of the Holocene Rhine-Meuse delta (the Netherlands) – A result of changing external controls. Geologie en Mijnbouw/Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, 86 (1), (pp. 23-54) (32 p.).
Hoffmann, T., Erkens, G., Cohen, K.M., Houben, P., Seidel, J. & Dikau, R. (2007). Holocene floodplain sediment storage and hillslope erosion within the Rhine catchment. Holocene, 17(1), (pp. 105-118) (14 p.).
  2007 - Other output
G. Erkens (23.10.2007) Palaeogeography of the Holocene Rhine-Meuse delta: Complete stratigraphical coverage of a sizable coastal prism
  2006 - Scholarly publications
Erkens, G., Cohen, K.M., Gouw, M.J.P., Middelkoop, H. & Hoek, W.Z. (2006). Holocene sediment budgets of the Rhine Delta (The Netherlands): a record of changing sediment delivery. In Rowan, J.S., Duck, R.W., Werritty, A. (Eds.), Sediment Dynamics and the Hydromorphology of Fluvial Systems (pp. 406-415) (10 p.). IAHS.
Erkens, G., Cohen, K.M., Middelkoop, H. & Koster, E.A. (2006). Calculating sedimentation quantities of the Rhine and Meuse in the Dutch delta region for the last 10,000 years. In H.J.T. Weerts, I.L. Ritsema and A.G. van Os (Eds.), Research on River Dynamics from geological to operational time scales, NRC Publication 29 Delft: Netherlands Centre for River Studies, NCR days 2005.
van de Plassche, O., Erkens, G., van Vliet, F., Brandsma, J., van der Borg, K. & de Jong, A.F.M. (2006). Salt-marsh erosion associated with hurricane landfall in southern New England in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. Geology, 34 (10), (pp. 829-832) (4 p.).
  2005 - Scholarly publications
Erkens, G., Cohen, K.M., Middelkoop, H. & Koster, E.A. (03.11.2005). Calculating quantities of Rhine and Meuse sediment trapped in the Dutch delta over the last 10,000 years. In A.G. van Os (Eds.), Proceedings in fluvial Research - Abstract Volume (pp. 12) (1 p.). Zwijndrecht: Netherlands Centre for River Studies - Delft, NCR days 2005.
  2004 - Scholarly publications
Erkens, G., Hoek, W.Z. & Koster, E.A. (04.11.2004). Causal relationships between climate change and natural river behaviour in the Rhine delta during the last 15,000 years. In A. Makaske, H.P. Wolfert & A.G. van Os (Eds.), NCR days 2004: Research for managing rivers: present and future issues. NCR Publication 26-2005 (pp. 118-119) (2 p.). Delft: Netherlands Centre for River Studies, NCR Days 2004.
  2003 - Professional publications
Erkens, G. (2003). Analyse Multibeam data Oostgat. (102 p.). Den Haag: Rijksinstituut voor Kust en Zee.
  0 - Other output
G. Erkens () BNR Denktank promoveren
G. Erkens () The Paper of the Year Award
G. Erkens () Wetenschaps-nieuws
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Gegenereerd op 2018-01-20 21:39:15
Rise and Fall: strategies for the subsiding and urbanising Mekong Delta (Vietnam) facing increasing salt water intrusion
01.09.2014 to 31.08.2018
General project description 

This project aims to enhance the capabilities of individuals and organisations to develop sustainable strategies for dealing with groundwater extraction, land subsidence and salt water intrusion in the increasingly urbanising Mekong Delta (Vietnam). We will enlarge the knowledge base of stakeholders (including policy makers, water managers and scientists) and work with them to develop and implement innovative tools and technologies in practice and policy. A new integrated delta model will be developed, linking surface water, groundwater and geo-mechanical models, to analyse the interrelated character of groundwater extraction, subsidence levels and salt water intrusion. Together with stakeholders the new and comprehensive model will be constructed and applied to quantify the effects of water management strategies in the Mekong Delta. Stakeholders will analyse and develop adequate strategies by simulating and demonstrating the effects of development scenarios and policy recommendations, such as expressed in the Mekong Delta Plan (2013).

Role Researcher Funding
NWO grant: Urbanizing Deltas of the World programme
Project members UU
Delta Evolution / Rhine-Meuse Delta Studies
01.01.2005 to 31.12.2020
General project description 

Delta Evolution is the label we use since 2005, for the Utrecht University research line in Lowland Geomorphology and Quaternary Geology, carried out by the Department of Physical Geography, in cooperation with other institutes. Delta Evolution is also the label put on the strategic research cooperation (since 2008) of the group with departments in Deltares Research Institute and TNO Geological Survey of the Netherlands, that have their offices on the Utrecht science campus too. The Delta Evolution program also connects to the network of alumni of Physical Geographers and Quaternary Geologists active in commercial consultancy companies and governmental agencies in the field of water management, hydrology, civil engineering, nature conservation and archaeology in The Netherlands and to colleagues at other universities - with whom we collaborate in shared projects. Our research and networks extend to deltas internationally - see the pages of the Future Deltas focus area for example. 

The Netherlands and the Rhine-Meuse delta in it are strongholds for our research. Our scientific research treats this delta as the mega-case, to draw smaller cases from - and to compare with other delta systems (other mega-cases) to test and validate what part of our insights are delta-specific and what is generic. The lowlands that the program focuses on include: delta plains, coastal plains, larger river valleys, peat wetlands, lagoon and fenlands and so on. These areas connect to upstream catchments and coastal marine systems downstream. Besides holding sedimentary and geomorphic record of their dynamic formation (lowland genesis, natural and human impacts thereon), the lowlands are also archives that recorded change of the upstream catchment (size of floods and amounts of sediment received), the coastal system (transgression, tides, barrier coasts, storms), the climate system (storms, precipitation, temperature), the biological system (vegetation and fauna, aquatic, riparian, terrestrial), the deeper earth (neoteconics, glaciohydro-isostasy), and archeological history (finds, sites, use of landscape). This feeds interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. Also, the better the build-up, making-of and age of the lowlands is understood (data integration, synthesis), the better the archives and science based on becomes (duplication, cross-validation, stacking). This is a main reason to carry-over mapping and dating knowledge from individual projects to Delta Evolution's living datasets, that in turn feed into new projects.

Delta Evolution as an umbrella programma, bundles series of PhD/Postdoc projects and contract-research projects and includes long-term dataset management from and between these projects. Goals in Delta Evolution at present are:

1. Perform novel scientific research in Geomorphology and Quaternary Geology of lowland areas,

  • by using and expanding the present datasets (already huge and of high quality) and knowledge (from several disciplines), 

  • by exploring the limits of our process-understanding and innovate the techniques of modelling geomorphology to cover longer timescales (1000-100,000 years), 

  • by pushing the resolution and accuracy of our mapping and dating, and innovate the techniques that combine these (GIS palaeogeography, 3D/4D geomodelling),

  • by striving to time-slice the evolution of deltas and quantify rates of morphological, sedimentary and hydrological change as they were changing over time (thus documenting shifts in controls)

  • by addressing research questions on the delta system at nested spatial, temporal and functional scales (whole delta, individual branches and swamps, fluvial vs. tidal affected reaches, human-impacted, semi-natural, natural parts of the system's suites of environments and processes; transgressive vs high-stand periods).

  • by combining new-collected data from field- and lab work with existing data, statistical analysis and physical numerical modelling.

2.  Synchronize the academic delta research with applied research activities

  • by valorizing new scientific insights early on in national mapping projects and geological/geotechnical/geohydrological advice.

  • by making early use of data-collection opportunities arising from larger infrastructural projects in the Netherlands delta, in academic research.

  • by topping up scientific research with contract-research and vice-versa: have exchange of input data, syncing the interpretation, and reviewing the data output.

  • by releasing high-quality data-sets and update these from time to time: take-in, monitoring and review of applied and academic research results from 3rd parties.

  • by taking up advisory roles, if possible in early stages, in projects that demand geological-geomorphological  information for plannig and decision making.

  • by connecting the Delta Evolution research output to internationally actual themes such as: global change, sustainability, climate change, sea-level change and land subsidence, delta urbanisation, environmental pressure, groundwater demand, hydrocarbon demand, ecological demand, interdisciplinarity science demand. See the pages of the Future Deltas focus area for examples. 


Role Researcher Funding
Project members UU
External project members:
  • Deltares
  • TNO Geologische Dienst Nederland

Completed projects

Living on subsiding peat soils in coastal zones 01.02.2015 to 04.10.2016
General project description

This is a pilot project of the UU research focus area Future Deltas. We study subsidence due to peat compaction and oxidation in built-up areas in three villages in the central part of the Rhine-Meuse delta, The Netherlands. Built-up areas are typically avoided because sealed surfaces and restricted property access hamper investigation the subsurface. These areas are however heavily impacted by land subsidence, and therefore, with an increasing number of people living on peaty soils, understanding processes leading to subsidence is critical. 

We made cross sections based on logged borehole data to reveal the lithological composition of the Holocene sequence underlying the villages. At selected sites, representing different land uses and subsurface composition, cores were extracted to determine current compaction conditions of peat layers, based on high-resolution bulk density measurements. Oxidation conditions of selected peat samples were determined based on respiration measurements. Derived information on compaction and oxidation conditions, along with data from previous studies, allowed to assess the relative contribution of both processes under different settings regarding loading and groundwater level. In addition, we assessed the potential for future land subsidence at our study sites under different development scenarios. Ultimately, insights derived from this study can be used for developing sustainable management strategies for inhabited organo-clastic coastal zones worldwide.

Role Researcher Funding
Utrecht University: Funded by Future Deltas
Project members UU
Gegenereerd op 2018-01-20 21:39:16
Full name
dr. G. Erkens Contact details
Willem C. van Unnikgebouw

Heidelberglaan 2
Room ZON 004
The Netherlands

Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 2758
Phone number (department) +31 30 256 4897
Gegenereerd op 2018-01-20 21:39:16
Last updated 19.10.2015