Tracing time in the ocean: a brief review of chronological constraints (60-8 kyr) on North Atlantic marine event-based stratigraphies

William E. N. Austin, Fiona D. Hibbert

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52 Citations (Scopus)


Well-resolved event-based stratigraphies in marine sediments spanning a significant portion of the last glacial period (60-8 kyr) provide a unique opportunity for time-stratigraphic correlation in the North Atlantic region. Here, we review the current methods available to chronologically constrain these event-based stratigraphies, highlighting, in particular, the value of tephrochronology as an independent tool to validate correlations between records. While the INTIMATE protocols (Lowe et al., 2008; Blockley et al., 2011) are equally applicable to marine and terrestrial records, spatially and temporally variable marine radiocarbon reservoir age effects (MREs) provide a challenge to using marine radiocarbon in the former as an independent chronostratigraphic tool. Despite the inherent uncertainties associated with 'tuning', we conclude that the mid-points of the common abrupt warming transitions associated with the well-defined, millennial-scale climate oscillations (the Dansgaard-Oeschger (D/O) cycles) observed in the oxygen isotopes of the Greenland ice cores and North Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) records currently provide the most robust correlation tie-points from which to derive age control. In this invited INTIMATE special issue article we propose a new protocol for establishing marine event-based chronostratigraphies in the North Atlantic region and focus on areas of chronological potential in palaeoceanographic research. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-37
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2012


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