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Varved glaciomarine clay in central Sweden before and the Baltic Ice Lake drainage: a further clue to the drainage event at Mt. Bilingen

Journal article
Authors Mark D. Johnson
malin Kylander
Lovise Casserstedt
Hanna Wiborgh
Svante Björck
Published in GFF
Volume 135
Issue 3-4
Pages 293-307
ISSN 1103-5897
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 293-307
Language en
Keywords varved clay; Baltic Ice Lake drainage; marine varves; Quaternary; Sweden; lithostratigraphy
Subject categories Climate Research, History of geology and palaeontology, Quaternary geology, Sedimentology


Glaciomarine clay found west of Mt Billingen, central Sweden, contains two distinct varve units separated by a sand layer that we interpret to be sediment deposited in the North Sea during the catastrophic drainage of the Baltic Ice Lake (BIL). The lower varve series was deposited proximal to the retreating ice margin and consists of varves that grade upward from gray to red. The upper varve series was deposited after the drainage event when fresh water within the Baltic basin flowed westward north of Billingen; the upper varves grade from red to gray. Grain size, elemental composition (determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF)), iron and organic-carbon content vary within each varve, with values that grade upward through each varve, but with a sharp contact with the overlying varve. The two varve units differ from each other, with the lower sequence being coarser and the upper containing a higher iron and organic-carbon content. We attribute the differences between pre- and post-drainage varves to reflect changes in distance to the ice margin and provenance. The stratigraphy at the site suggests that the BIL drainage lasted ,1 year. Lithostratigraphic correlations to the Lake La°ngen basin west of Mt Billingen support the idea of glacier ice in the La°ngen basin during the drainage and a retreat and advance of the ice sheet during Allero¨d and Younger Dryas, including the possibility of an earlier, Allero¨d drainage.

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