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Subdivisions of the Quaternary System
Age (Ma)
Quaternary Holocene Meghalayan 0 0.0042
Northgrippian 0.0042 0.0082
Greenlandian 0.0082 0.0117
Pleistocene 'Tarantian' 0.0117 0.126
'Chibanian' 0.126 0.781
Calabrian 0.781 1.80
Gelasian 1.80 2.58
Neogene Pliocene Piacenzian 2.58 3.60
Notes and references[1][2][3]
Subdivision of the Quaternary period according to the ICS, as of 2018.[1]

For the Holocene, dates are relative to the year 2000 (e.g. Greenlandian began 11,700 years before 2000). For the begin of the Northgrippian a date of 8,236 years before 2000 has been set.[2] The Meghalayan has been set to begin 4,250 years before 2000, apparently from a calibrated radio-carbon date of 4,200 years BP i.e. before 1950.[3][clarification needed]

'Chibanian' and 'Tarantian' are informal, unofficial names proposed to replace the also informal, unofficial 'Middle Pleistocene' and 'Upper Pleistocene' subseries/subepochs respectively.

In Europe and North America, the Holocene is subdivided into Preboreal, Boreal, Atlantic, Subboreal, and Subatlantic stages of the Blytt–Sernander time scale. There are many regional subdivisions for the Upper or Late Pleistocene; usually these represent locally recognized cold (glacial) and warm (interglacial) periods. The last glacial period ends with the cold Younger Dryas substage.

The Holstein interglacial (German: Holstein-Warmzeit or Holstein-Interglazial), also called the Mindel-Riss interglacial (Mindel-Riß-Interglazial) in the Alpine region, is the third to last major interglacial before the Holocene, the present warm period. It lasted from about 340,000 to 325,000 years ago, and is hence part of the Middle Pleistocene.



The Holstein interglacial is defined by marine sedimentation. On the stratigraphic record at the natural monument of Sievertsche Tongrube in Hamburg-Hummelsbüttel, its development is traced from the Elster ice age (Lauenburg clay) through the start of the warm period (freshwater depositions) to its flooding by the Holstein Sea (Cardien Sands).[4][5][6][7][8]


  1. ^ a b Cohen, K.M.; Finney, S.C.; Gibbard, P.L.; Fan, J.-X. "International Chronostratigraphic Chart". International Commission on Stratigraphy. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "IUGS ratifies Holocene". Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b "announcement ICS chart v2018/07". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  4. ^ Grube, E.-F. (1959): Die Bedeutung des Holstein-Interglazial-Aufschlusses von Hamburg-Hummelsbüttel für die Geologie Norddeutschlands. - Jahrbuch des Alstervereins: 5-9.
  5. ^ Grube, E.-F. (1963): Geologie der Ziegelei-Tongruben von Hamburg-Hummelsbüttel. - Jahrbuch des Alstervereins 42: 25-30.
  6. ^ Averdieck, F.-R. (1992): Das Holstein-Interglazial von Hamburg-Hummelsbüttel. - Meyniana 44: 1-13.
  7. ^ Dallek, M. (1963): Holstein-Interglazialvorkommen von Hamburg-Hummelsbüttel. - Jahrbuch des Deutschen Jugendbundes für Naturbeobachtung 2: 136-147.
  8. ^ Knudsen, K.L. (1979): Foraminiferal Faunas in Marine Holsteinian Interglacial Deposits of Hamburg-Hummelsbüttel. - Mitteilungen aus dem Geologisch-Paläontologischen Institut der Universität Hamburg 49: 193-214.


  • Hallik, R. (1960): Die Vegetationsentwicklung der Holstein-Warmzeit in Nordwestdeutschland und die Altersstellung der Kieselgurlager der südlichen Lüneburger Heide. - Zeitschrift der Deutschen Geologischen Gesellschaft 112: 326-333.

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