STRATI 2013 pp 983-987 | Cite as

Formal Subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch

  • M. J. C. WalkerEmail author
  • P. L. Gibbard
  • M. Berkelhammer
  • S. Bjorck
  • L. C. Cwynar
  • D. A. Fisher
  • A. J. Long
  • J. J. Lowe
  • R. M. Newnham
  • S. O. Rasmussen
  • H. Weiss
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)


This proposal, by a Working Group of Integration of ice-core, marine, and terrestrial records (INTIMATE) and the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), is for a formal subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch. Although previous attempts to subdivide the Holocene have proved inconclusive, recent developments in Quaternary stratigraphy, notably the definition of the Pleistocene–Holocene boundary and the emergence of formal 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 we propose that this de facto subdivision should now be formalised to ensure consistency in stratigraphic terminology. We advocate a formal Early–Middle Holocene boundary at 8200 a BP and a formal Middle–Late Holocene boundary at 4200 a BP, each of which is linked to a Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP).


Holocene Stratigraphic subdivision 8.2 ka and 4.2 ka events NGRIP ice core Mawmluh Cave stalagmite 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. C. Walker
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • P. L. Gibbard
    • 3
  • M. Berkelhammer
    • 4
  • S. Bjorck
    • 5
  • L. C. Cwynar
    • 6
  • D. A. Fisher
    • 7
  • A. J. Long
    • 8
  • J. J. Lowe
    • 9
  • R. M. Newnham
    • 10
  • S. O. Rasmussen
    • 11
  • H. Weiss
    • 12
  1. 1.School of Archaeology, History and AnthropologyUniversity of Wales Trinity Saint DavidLampeterWales, UK
  2. 2.Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth UniversityAberystwythWales, UK
  3. 3.Department of GeographyCambridge UniversityCambridgeUK
  4. 4.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesCooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  5. 5.Department of Geology, Quaternary SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden
  6. 6.Department of BiologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  7. 7.Natural Resources CanadaOttawaCanada
  8. 8.Department of GeographyDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  9. 9.Department of GeographyRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK
  10. 10.School of Geography, Environment and Earth SciencesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  11. 11.Centre for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  12. 12.School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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