Paleoclimate reconstruction at the Pleistocene/Holocene transition—A varve dated microstratigraphic record from Lake Meerfelder Maar (Westeifel, Germany)

A contribution to the discussion on the Younger Dryas climatic oscillation
  • D. Poth
  • J. F. W. Negendank
Part of the Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences book series (LNEARTH, volume 49)


Along two cross-sections 27 sediment cores were taken from Lake Meerfelder Maar.

Microstratigraphic studies have been carried out on one of these annually laminated, high resolution sediment sequences, subdivided by local lithozones. Using sediment increase rates, accumulation rates and the structure of varves it was possible to prove rapid climatic variations at the Pleistocene/Holocene transition.

The boundaries of local lithozones and their corresponding biozones are calculated in varve years BP (=v.y. BP, ref. year 1950).

The Younger Dryas is a tripartite sequence characterized by lithozones M3a-c. Lithozone M2 characterizes organic deposits of the Late Glacial with Laacher See Tephra (LST) close to its top. The base of Younger Dryas (M2/M3a) is dated to 11.070 v. y. BP. After this period of rapid cooling a dramatic sedimentary change to clay-silt-laminations occurs at 10.850 v. y. BP characterizing the main Younger Dryas climatic deterioration (M3b). From now on soil erosion dominates due to open tundra-like vegetation of the periglacial environment, causing clastic deposition rich in sand and silt. After around 140 years organic sedimentation reappears abruptly and allochthonous minerogenic detritus recedes. This succession characterizes the transition to early Holocene warming and regeneration of soils and vegetation. The top of Younger Dryas (M3c/M4) is dated to 10.610 v.y. BP when first distinct layers of planktonic diatoms occur. Therefore the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary is fixed lithologically by varve counting, beginning at the isochrone of LST (11.323+/-224 v.y. BP), to 10.610 v.y. BP.


Planktonic Diatom Late Glacial Organic Detritus Organic Deposit Maar Lake 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Poth
    • 1
  • J. F. W. Negendank
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of GeologyUniversity of TrierTrierGermany

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