The last Middle Pleistocene interglacial in Lithuania: insights from ESR-dating of deposits at Valakampiai, and from stratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental data

Anatoly Molodkov, Nataliya Bolikhovskaya, Algirdas Gaigalas

Abstract


The penultimate (Snaigupėlė, oxygen isotope stage (OIS) 7) interglacial has proved controversial in Lithuania because of palynological similarities between Holsteinian, Snaigupėlė and Eemian interglacial deposits in the Lithuanian terrestrial record. Furthermore, no warm interglacial period has been recognised between the Holsteinian (OIS 11) and Eemian (OIS 5) in the neighbouring Baltic countries, Estonia and Latvia. In this study, we provide electron spin resonance (ESR) dates of two freshwater mollusc shell samples collected from lacustrine sediments at the Valakampiai site which are thought to be Snaigupėlė in age. Shells analysed gave mutually consistent dates of 116.0 +/- 10.8 and 110.0 +/- 12.1 ka with an average age of about 113.3 ka. These dates are thus significantly younger than OIS 7, and more closely correspond to OIS 5 (Eemian). The possible occurrence of this late Middle Pleistocene OIS 7 interglacial episode in Lithuania and other Baltic countries is evaluated with reference to the nearest and most complete long terrestrial sequences from the central and southeastern parts of the East-European Plain.

Keywords


Lithuania; Middle Pleistocene; Snaigupėlė Interglacial; OIS 7; ESR-dating; mollusc shells; palynostratigraphy; correlation

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