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Re-dating the Pilgrimstad Interstadial with OSL: a warmer climate and a smaller ice sheet during the Swedish Middle Weichselian (MIS 3)?

  • Helena Alexanderson
  • Timothy Johnsen
  • Andrew S. Murray
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 367-376
Publication/Series: Boreas
Volume: 39
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd

Abstract english

Pilgrimstad in central Sweden is an important locality for reconstructing environmental changes during the last glacial period (the Weichselian). Its central location has implications for the Scandinavian Ice Sheet as a whole. The site has been assigned an Early Weichselian age (marine isotope stage (MIS) 5 a/c; > 74 ka), based on pollen stratigraphic correlations with type sections in continental Europe, but the few absolute dating attempts so far have given uncertain results. We re-excavated the site and collected 10 samples for optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating from mineral- and organic-rich sediments within the new Pilgrimstad section. Single aliquots of quartz were analysed using a post-IR blue single aliquot regenerative-dose (SAR) protocol. Dose recovery tests were satisfactory and OSL ages are internally consistent. All, except one from an underlying unit that is older, lie in the range 52-36 ka, which places the interstadial sediments in the Middle Weichselian (MIS 3); this is compatible with existing radiocarbon ages, including two measured with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The mean of the OSL ages is 44 +/- 6 ka (n=9). The OSL ages cannot be assigned to the Early Weichselian for all reasonable adjustments to water content estimates and other parameters. The new ages suggest that climate was relatively mild and that the Scandinavian Ice Sheet was absent or restricted to the mountains for at least parts of MIS 3. These results are supported by other recent studies completed in Fennoscandia.


  • Geology


  • ISSN: 1502-3885
Helena Alexandersson
E-mail: helena [dot] alexanderson [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se


Quaternary Sciences

+46 46 222 44 83



Aeolian sand project

Project members
Members of the aeolian sand project: Martin Bernhardson, Sara Florén, Edyta Kalińska-Nartiša and Helena Alexanderson.

Read more about the project here.