This book seeks to outline the evidence for the stratigraphy of Europe over some of Middle Pleistocene time. It considers the types of evidence available, tests them in type areas/ case studies and makes a proposal for a stratigraphic framework.
Quaternary stratigraphy has recently received considerable attention through the conflict between the pre-Quaternary community and the Quaternary community over the boundary between the Quaternary and pre-Quaternary time and the terminology to be applied to the stratigraphic subdivisions of the last c. 2.6 million years. Papers have been published in all the major Quaternary and stratigraphic journals and in a number of stratigraphically focussed edited volumes and there has been considerable debate in the form of written communication (both on paper and in electronic form) about the topic. Quaternary stratigraphy is a hot topic with global interest.
This debate has highlighted to a large degree the great problems of deriving a stratigraphy from fragmentary terrestrial evidence by comparison with the now well established marine and ice core records based on oxygen isotope stratigraphy. Inevitably these problems have resulted in much debate about the value of stages proposed to subdivide the terrestrial Quaternary. The traditional group base a scheme upon terrestrial evidence without reference to the integrated Earth system and accept the long established and widely accepted terms such as Cromerian, Elsterian, Holsteinian, Saalian, Eemian and Weichselian, whereas others have attempted to link the marine and terrestrial record as part of an integrated system. This debate is critical to our understanding of the operation and coupling of land-ocean systems and the patterns of terrestrial change that are related to the Earth's climate. This topic stimulates interest in all parts of Quaternary science.