Holocene and Eemian sea levels and ice sheets: Differences and similarities as seen in The Netherlands

M.P. Hijma, K.M. Cohen, F.S. Busschers, J. Peeters, N.L.M. Barlow, A. Long

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractOther research output


In the Netherlands, both the Holocene and the Eemian (Last Interglacial) relative sea-level histories are well resolved for both the transgressive and the high-stand intervals with the two histories being broadly analogous, but certainly not identical. For the Eemian history, in past decades (Zagwijn, 1983; 1996; Van Leeuwen et al., 2000; Cleveringa et al. 2000) and recently (Peeters et al., 2015; 2016; Sier et al. 2015; Long et al. 2015), considerable effort has been directed towards estimating the rates and magnitudes of sea-level change, establishing independent dating control, and in the potential contribution of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. Classic work on Holocene relative sea-level rise (Jelgersma, 1961; Van de Plassche 1982) has also recently been extended to include the period 9.0-7.0 ka and resolve spatial patterns of glacial-isostatic adjustment (GIA) (Vink et al. 2007) and acceleration/deceleration events (or “sea-level jumps”) in the 8.5-8.2 ka period (Hijma & Cohen, 2010; Tornqvist & Hijma, 2012). Both Eemian and Holocene sea-level histories record a late start to the transgression, triggered by high subsidence rates caused by the Netherlands’ position in the GIA near-field of the Scandinavian ice-masses (drowns last, sinks fast). Whereas the duration of the Eemian transgression and subsequent highstand phases is reasonably controlled from classic Eemian regional pollen studies based on a floating varve chronology (Müller, 1974; Caspers et al., 2002), the absolute timing of these phases is not, and differs widely between studies. The rapid transgression observed in the Eemian sea-level rise, by analogy to the Early-Middle Holocene (9.0-8.0 ka), indicates strong GIA and forebulge collapse, and thus bears directly on our understanding of the timing of Scandinavian deglaciation. Studies that claim a late start of the Eemian interglacial (regionally lagging the onset recorded in the tropics), imply that deglaciation of Scandinavia continued into the early part of MIS 5 (end of Termination II), longer than in MIS 1 (Lateglacial and early Holocene). In this presentation we focus on the timing of the Eemian highstand in the North Sea in comparison with global sites and the timing of the highstand in the Holocene and explore implications for our understanding of the deglacial history of the Scandanavian Ice Sheet.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2016
EventPalsea 2016 meeting - Timberline Lodge, , Mount Hood, Oregon, United States
Duration: 19 Sept 201621 Sept 2016


ConferencePalsea 2016 meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMount Hood, Oregon


  • Sea-level change
  • Eemian
  • Last Interglacial
  • Glacio-isostatic adjustment


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