Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

Living Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen Thompson

Marine Varves

  • Konrad A. Hughen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_162-1



The term varve is a Swedish word that means cyclic layer. It was first used in 1862 as Hvarfig lera by the Swedish Geological Survey to describe rhythmically deposited light and dark clay layers in a proglacial environment on one of the first geological maps of Sweden.

Introduction and History

The study of varved sediments extends back more than 150 years, when alternating pale and dark laminations in marine and lacustrine sediments in Europe and North America were first mapped and interpreted as a potential source of chronological information. The concept of annually laminated sediments was later developed by Swedish geologist De Geer, who applied the chronological information stored in varved clays deposited near the margin of the retreating Scandinavian ice sheet to determine the time elapsed since the termination of the last glacial period. De Geer established a network of sites along the Baltic coast...


Tree Ring Laminate Sediment Varve Thickness Anoxic Bottom Water Varved Sediment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marine Chemistry and GeochemistryWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA