Driftwood in the Eemian interglacial lacustrine unit from the Faroe Islands and its possible source areas: palaeobotanical and ichnological analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The coastal cliffs in Klaksvík (Borðoyar Bay) are the only known locality with Eemian sediments in the Faroe Islands. Previous studies carried out there focused on the sedimentology, tephra chemistry, paleoecology including aquatic environment, or the age of the deposits. In the lacustrine, clayey to silty gyttja we collected scattered wood fragments, identified as Larix sp., Pinus sp., Taxus sp. and Betulaceae? In addition, these wood remains contain numerous trace fossils, made by marine wood-boring bivalves (Teredolites longissimus), which together with a discussion about the areal extent of the identified tree species leads us to conclude that they are non-native, i.e. driftwood. Northern Siberia is usually regarded as the most likely source area for driftwood in the eastern North Atlantic region. We combined the approximate transport distance from the areal extent of the wood with the main directions of marine currents in the relevant section of the North Atlantic. Adding the known average marine current velocities during the penultimate interglacial resulted in 130–200 days for transport from North America and 350–1100 days from Siberia. Comparing this with the maximal buoyancy period for the identified tree species, we conclude that the Faroese driftwood may originate not only from Siberia, but also from the eastern coast of North America, especially from the region around the Great Lakes, as well as from western Europe.


  • Richard Pokorný
  • Vít Koutecký
  • Svante Björck
  • Lukáš Krmíček
  • Uni E. Árting
  • Marcel Štofik
External organisations
  • Masaryk University
  • Charles University in Prague
  • Brno University of Technology
  • Faroese Geological Survey (Jarðfeingi)
  • University of the Faroe Islands
  • Jan Evangelista Purkyně University
  • Institute of Geology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1230-1243
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch