What status for the Quaternary?

Gibbard, Philip L.; Smith, Alan G.; Zalasiewicz, Jan A.; Barry, Tiffany; Cantrill, David; Coe, Angela L.; Cope, John C. W.; Gale, Andrew S.; Gregory, F. John; Powell, John H.; Rawson, Peter F.; Stone, Philip and Waters, Colin N. (2005). What status for the Quaternary? Boreas, 34(1) pp. 1–6.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1502-3885.2005.tb01000.x


The status of the Quaternary, long regarded as a geological period effectively coincident with the main climatic deterioration of the current Ice Age, has recently been questioned as a formal stratigraphic unit. We argue here that it should be retained as a formal period of geological time. Furthermore, we consider that its beginning should be placed at the Gauss-Matuyama magnetic chron boundary at about 2.6 Ma, rather than at its current position at about 1.8 Ma. The Quaternary would be formally subdivided into the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. The global chronostratigraphical correlation table proposed is enclosed at the back of this issue.

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