A Younger Dryas varve chronology from the Rehwiese palaeolake record in NE-Germany

Ina Neugebauer, Achim Brauer*, Nadine Dräger, Peter Dulski, Sabine Wulf, Birgit Plessen, Jens Mingram, Ulrike Herzschuh, Arthur Brande

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first 1400-year floating varve chronology for north-eastern Germany covering the late Allerød to the early Holocene has been established by microscopic varve counts from the Rehwiese palaeolake sediment record. The Laacher See Tephra (LST), at the base of the studied interval, forms the tephrochronological anchor point. The fine laminations were examined using a combination of micro-facies and μXRF analyses and are typical of calcite varves, which in this case provide mainly a warm season signal. Two varve types with different sub-layer structures have been distinguished: (I) complex varves consisting of up to four seasonal sub-layers formed during the Allerød and early Holocene periods, and, (II) simple two sub-layer type varves only occurring during the Younger Dryas. The precision of the chronology has been improved by varve-to-varve comparison of two independently analyzed sediment profiles based on well-defined micro-marker layers. This has enabled both (1) the precise location of single missing varves in one of the sediment profiles, and, (2) the verification of varve interpolation in disturbed varve intervals in the parallel core. Inter-annual and decadal-scale variability in sediment deposition processes were traced by multi-proxy data series including seasonal layer thickness, high-resolution element scans and total organic and inorganic carbon data at a five-varve resolution. These data support the idea of a two-phase Younger Dryas, with the first interval (12,675-12,275 varve years BP) characterised by a still significant but gradually decreasing warm-season calcite precipitation and a second phase (12,275-11,690 varve years BP) with only weak calcite precipitation. Detailed correlation of these two phases with the Meerfelder Maar record based on the LST isochrone and independent varve counts provides clues about regional differences and seasonal aspects of YD climate change along a transect from a location proximal to the North Atlantic in the west to a more continental site in the east.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date21 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2012


  • micro-facies
  • micro-XRF
  • North-eastern Germany
  • varve chronology
  • Younger Dryas

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