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A tephra-based correlation between the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian Sea raises questions about chronological relationships during the last interglacial


Stefan Wastegård, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel.: +46 8 164892; fax: +46 8 6747895; e-mail:


Marine ash zones from the last interglacial period have been described from cores from the North Atlantic and an ash zone from the middle part of the interglacial has been observed in connection with a major cooling event. Here we present evidence for a coeval ash zone in a terrestrial site on the Faroe Islands. The investigated sediments are correlated with the upper part of oxygen isotope stage 5e and the beginning of stage 5d. The Eemian climatic optimum is represented in the lower part of the sequence close to the first occurrence of the ash zone. A tephra-based correlation suggests that the climatic optimum was synchronous with the marine record from the Norwegian Sea, but several thousand years later than in Eemian sections of west central Europe. However, many questions on the chronological relationship between the Eemian and oxygen isotope stage 5e still remain to be answered.