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Stratigraphy, sedimentology, age and palaeoenvironment of marine varved clay in the Middle Swedish end-moraine zone

Journal article
Authors Mark D. Johnson
Ylva Ståhl
Published in Boreas
Volume 39
Issue 2
Pages 199-214
ISSN 0300-9483
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 199-214
Language en
Keywords varves, Youngr Dryas, Middle Swedish end-moraine zone
Subject categories Quaternary geology, Sedimentology


Deglaciation of the Middle Swedish end-moraine zone and age of the sediment in and between the moraines have been discussed for about a hundred years. The goal of this project was to determine the stratigraphy and age of the sediment in and between the moraines. Inter-moraine flats are underlain by clay, 10–25 m thick, overlying thin sand and gravel or till on bedrock. The clay is overlain by a few metres of sand and gravel. Much of the clay beneath the flats consists of rhythmites that grade from grey to red and are 2–74 cm thick. Our interpretation of these rhythmites as being varves is supported by grain size and mineralogical and elemental variations. Foraminifera and ostracods show that the clay was deposited in an arctic marine environment, while radiocarbon dating of the microfossils indicates that the clay was deposited 12 150 cal. 14C years ago, during the Younger Dryas chronozone (YD). Most of the optical stimulated luminescence dates on the clay are much older, containing quartz sand that was insufficiently bleached. The stratigraphy indicates that the moraines are composed of YD clay pushed into ridge forms during ice-front oscillations. It is not possible to determine how far north the Scandinavian Ice Sheet retreated prior to the YD advance. We neither support nor reject the suggestion that the ice margin retreated to the northern edge of Mt. Billingen during the Allerød, causing the Baltic Ice Lake to drain.

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