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Holocene: Definition and current stratigraphic status in the geological time scale
D.K. Sinha, , K. Mallick, V.P. Singh
Published in Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages: 1 - 9
Holocene is the youngest Epoch/Series in the recent Geological Time Scale which spans to the present. This is the only formal chronostratigraphic division in the geological time-scale whose boundary (the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary) is defined climatostratigraphically in an ice core in contrast to other Phanerozoic Epoch boundaries which have been defined biostratigraphically in the sedimentary rock record. The base of the Holocene is fixed in the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) ice-core record at the horizon showing the clearest signal of climatic warming, an event that marks the end of the last cold episode (Younger Dryas Stadial/Greenland Stadial 1) of the Pleistocene in calendar years, the base of the Holocene would be close to 11,700 yrs BP (Before Present refers to before 1950 CE). Till date, there have been no proposals to formally subdivide the Holocene Epoch/Series into smaller intervals and as a result , casual usage of "early", "middle" and "late Holocene" has been much prevalent. In this chapter, we propose that in the absence of any significant faunal events in marine as well as the terrestrial records, like its base, the subdivisions of the Holocene be made chronometrically with a climatostratigraphic bias and should roughly correspond to major climate change in the North Atlantic. The North Atlantic climate changes have also been found to affect the strength of the Asian Monsoon. We propose that the Holocene be subdivided into an Early, Middle and Late Holocene based on the major changes in North Atlantic climate, e.g., Bond events. The boundaries may correspond roughly to the Bond Events which mark significant change in the thermohaline circulation and thus would be possible to determine in the marine records worldwide. This will also to a great extent minimize the problem of casual usage of the early, middle and late terms as adjective to Holocene. © 2013 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
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