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A formal subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch

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  • UserMike Walker, School of Archaeology, History & Anthropology, Trinity Saint David, University of Wales, Lampeter, and Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University
  • ClockThursday 05 May 2016, 17:30-18:30
  • HouseThirkill Room, Clare College.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Della Murton.

This presentation considers the prospects for a formal subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch. Although previous attempts to subdivide the Holocene have proved inconclusive, recent developments in Quaternary stratigraphy, including the definition of the Pleistocene–Holocene boundary and subdivisions of the Pleistocene Series/Epoch, mean that it may be timely to revisit this matter. The Quaternary literature reveals a widespread, but variable, informal usage of a tripartite division of the Holocene (‘Early’, ‘Middle’ or ‘Mid’, and ‘Late’), and it is suggested that this de facto subdivision should now be formalized to ensure consistency in stratigraphic terminology. The proposal is for three stages and subseries/subepochs of the Holocene: the Greenlandian, Northgrippian and Meghalayan, each of which is underpinned by a Global Standard Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP). It is suggested that the Early–Middle Holocene boundary should be defined by the global cooling event at 8.2 ka BP, and the Middle–Late Holocene boundary by the widespread low-latitude aridity phase at 4.2 ka BP, Should the proposal find support from the Quaternary community, a submission for ratification will be made to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), via the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) and the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

This talk is part of the Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG) series.

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