Environmental reconstructions of Eemian Stage interglacial marine records in the Lower Vistula area, southern Baltic Sea



A multiproxy study of Eemian Stage sediments in two core records, Licze and Obrzynowo, in the Gulf of Gdańsk area of northern Poland, shows that the brackish-marine interglacial conditions were determined partly by regional environmental changes and partly by local changes of the river outflow from the Vistula into the southern Baltic Sea. Correlation of the sediments with the Eemian is based on pollen analysis of the Obrzynowo record, showing the presence of regional pollen zones (RPAZ) E2–E6, combined with previously published pollen analyses from Licze (RPAZ E1–E7). A floating chronology is established on the basis of correlation with the annually laminated Bispingen sequence. Diatoms, foraminifera and ostracods are used as marine environmental proxies at both sites. An indication of marine conditions as early as pollen zone E1 or E2 at Licze and close to the E2–E3 boundary at Obrzynowo reflects the rapid relative sea-level rise in the area, which proceeded through 3000 years. A major salinity increase c. 1100 years after the beginning of the Eemian (early pollen zone E4) at both sites may be related to the opening of the Danish Straits. The Obrzynowo site became isolated from the sea at c. 3500 years (early pollen zone E5), whereas marine conditions continued at Licze until c. 7000 years, that is, throughout pollen zone E5. Gradually shallower water after c. 5000 years presumably resulted from progradation of the rivers combined with isostatic rebound of the area before final isolation from the sea at c. 7000 years.