Marine glacial and interglacial stratigraphy in Vendsyssel, northern Denmark: foraminifera and stable isotopes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The marine Quaternary of Vendsyssel has been studied in a series of new boreholes in the area, and the climatic development is discussed on the basis of foraminiferal assemblages and stable isotopes. The foraminiferal zones are correlated with previously published records from northern Denmark, and the spatial local and regional distribution is discussed in details based on the new evidence. The new data show that the marine sedimentation in Vendsyssel was not continuous from the Late Saalian to the Middle Weichselian, as previously thought. For example, there is indication of a hiatus at our key site, Asted Vest in the central part of Vendsyssel, at the transition between regional foraminiferal zones N4 and N3, i.e. at the Late Saalian (MIS 6) - Eemian (MIS 5e) transition. The hitherto most complete Early Weichselian succession (zone N2) in Vendsyssel is presented from Asted Vest. Deposits from the Early Weichselian sea-level lowstands (MIS 5d and 5b) may, however, be missing in parts of the area. Two major breaks in the marine deposition during the Middle Weichselian represent glacial advances into northern Denmark. The first event occurred just after deposition of the regional foraminiferal zone N2 (late MIS 4), and the second event in the middle part of zone N1 (early MIS 3). Zone N1 is succeeded by a series of non-marine units deposited during the sea-level lowstand of the Weichselian maximum glaciation (late MIS 3 and MIS 2), including deeply incised tunnel valleys, which have been refilled with non-marine sediments during the Late Weichselian. Vendsyssel was inundated by the sea again during the Late Weichselian, at c. 18 kyr BP. Subsequently, the marine conditions were gradually changed by forced regression caused by local isostatic uplift, and around the Weichselian-Holocene transition most of Vendsyssel was above sea level. A continuous deposition across the Late Weichselian-Holocene boundary only occurred at relatively deep sites such as Skagen. The environmental and climatic indications for Vendsyssel are in accordance with the global sea-level curve, and the Quaternary record is correlated with the oxygen isotope record from the NorthGRIP ice core, as well as the marine isotope stages.


  • Karen Luise Knudsen
  • Peter Kristensen
  • Nicolaj Krog Larsen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-810
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch