Elsterian-Holsteinian deposits at Kås Hoved, northern Denmark: sediments, foraminifera, ostracods, and stable isotopes



The coastal cliff section at Kås Hoved in northern Denmark represents one of the largest exposures of marine interglacial deposits in Europe. High-resolution analyses of sediments, foraminifera, ostracods, and stable isotopes (oxygen and carbon) in glacial-interglacial marine sediments from this section, as well as from two adjacent boreholes, are the basis for an interpretation of marine environmental and climatic change through the Late Elsterian-Holsteinian glacial-interglacial cycle. The overlying glacial deposits show two ice advances during the Saalian and Weichselian glaciations. The assemblages in the initial glacier-proximal part of the marine Late Elsterian succession reveal fluctuations in the inflow of sediment-loaded meltwater to the area. This is followed by faunal indication of glacier-distal, open marine conditions, coinciding with a gradual climatic change from arctic to subarctic environments. Continuous marine sedimentation during the glacial-interglacial transition is presumably a result of a large-scale isostatic subsidence caused by the preceding extended Elsterian glaciation. The similarity of the climatic signature of the interglacial Holsteinian and Holocene assemblages in this region indicates that the Atlantic Ocean circulation was similar during these two interglacials, whereas Eemian interglacial assemblages indicate a comparatively high water temperature associated with an enhanced North Atlantic Current. The foraminiferal zones are correlated with other Elsterian-Holsteinian sites in Denmark, as well as those in the type area for the Holsteinian interglacial in northern Germany and the southern North Sea. Correlation of the NW European Holsteinian succession with the marine isotope stages MIS 7, 9 or 11 is still unresolved.