• Middle Pleistocene;
  • stratigraphy;
  • luminescence dating;
  • pollen;
  • sedimentology


The Meikirch drilling site in the Swiss Midlands north of Bern is re-interpreted using a combination of sedimentological logging, pollen analyses and luminescence dating. The sedimentary sequence comprises about 70 m of lacustrine deposits, overlain by about 39 m of coarse glacial outwash interpreted to represent at least two independent ice advances. Pollen analyses of the apparently complete limnic sequence reveal a basal late glacial period followed by three warm phases that are interrupted by two stadial periods (Meikirch complex). The warm periods were previously correlated with the Holsteinian and Eemian Interglacials. According to luminescence dating, and with consideration of evidence for Middle Pleistocene climate patterns at other central European sites, a correlation of the Meikirch complex with marine isotope stage (MIS) 7 is now proposed. If this correlation is correct, it implies the presence of three intervals with interglacial character during MIS 7. However, the late Middle Pleistocene vegetational features of the Meikirch complex show significant differences when compared with the pollen record from the Velay region, central France. Possible explanations for this discrepancy are distinct Middle Pleistocene patterns of atmospheric circulation over central Europe and a different distribution of vegetation refugia compared to the Eemian Interglacial and the Holocene. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.