Quaternary science

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Quaternary science is an inter-disciplinary field of study focusing on the Quaternary period, which encompasses the last 2.6 million years. The field studies the current ice age and the recent interstadial, between numerous glaciations, the Holocene, and uses proxy evidence to reconstruct the past environments during this period to infer the climatic and environmental changes that have occurred.

Quaternary is the current and most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). It follows the Neogene Period and spans from 2.588 ± 0.005 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene and the Holocene. The informal term "Late Quaternary" refers to the past 0.5–1.0 million years.

Ice age Period of long-term reduction in temperature of Earths surface and atmosphere

An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental and polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. Earth is currently in the Quaternary glaciation, known in popular terminology as the Ice Age. Individual pulses of cold climate are termed "glacial periods", and intermittent warm periods are called "interglacials", with both climatic pulses part of the Quaternary or other periods in Earth's history.

Holocene The current geological epoch, covering the last 11,700 years

The Holocene is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 11,650 cal years before present, after the last glacial period, which concluded with the Holocene glacial retreat. The Holocene and the preceding Pleistocene together form the Quaternary period. The Holocene has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1. It is considered by some to be an interglacial period within the Pleistocene Epoch.


Quaternary science journals

<i>Boreas</i> (journal) International Journal of Quaternary Research

Boreas is a peer-reviewed academic journal that has been published on behalf of the Collegium Boreas since 1972. The journal covers all branches of quaternary research, including biological and non-biological aspects of the quaternary environment in both glaciated and non-glaciated areas. Formerly published by Taylor & Francis, Boreas has been published by Wiley-Blackwell since 1998. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2012 impact factor of 2.457.

Geografiska Annaler is a scientific journal published by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. The journal is founded in 1919. Since 1965 the journal is published in two series A and B. Series A deals with arctic research, physical geography, glaciology and quaternary science in general. Series B covers the topics of human geography and economic geography, with a special, but not exclusive, focus on the Nordic and Baltic countries.

The Journal of Quaternary Science is a peer-reviewed academic journal published on behalf of the Quaternary Research Association. It covers research on any aspect of quaternary science. The journal publishes predominantly research articles with two thematic issues published annually, although discussions and letters are occasionally published along with invited reviews. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2012 impact factor of 2.939.

See also

The International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) was founded in 1928. It has members from a number of scientific disciplines who study the environmental changes that occurred during the glacial ages, the last 2.6 million years. One goal of these investigators is to document the timing and patterns in past climatic changes to help understand the causes of changing climates.

Palynology The study of dust

Palynology is literally the "study of dust" or of "particles that are strewn". A classic palynologist analyses particulate samples collected from the air, from water, or from deposits including sediments of any age. The condition and identification of those particles, organic and inorganic, give the palynologist clues to the life, environment, and energetic conditions that produced them.

100,000-year problem discrepancy between past temperatures and the amount of incoming solar radiation

The 100,000-year problem of the Milankovitch theory of orbital forcing refers to a discrepancy between the reconstructed geologic temperature record and the reconstructed amount of incoming solar radiation, or insolation over the past 800,000 years. Due to variations in the Earth's orbit, the amount of insolation varies with periods of around 21,000, 40,000, 100,000, and 400,000 years. Variations in the amount of incident solar energy drive changes in the climate of the Earth, and are recognised as a key factor in the timing of initiation and termination of glaciations.

Related Research Articles

The Neogene is a geologic period and system that spans 20.45 million years from the end of the Paleogene Period 23.03 million years ago (Mya) to the beginning of the present Quaternary Period 2.58 Mya. The Neogene is sub-divided into two epochs, the earlier Miocene and the later Pliocene. Some geologists assert that the Neogene cannot be clearly delineated from the modern geological period, the Quaternary. The term "Neogene" was coined in 1853 by the Austrian palaeontologist Moritz Hörnes (1815–1868).

Political science is a social science which deals with systems of governance, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics which is commonly thought of as determining of the distribution of power and resources. Political scientists "see themselves engaged in revealing the relationships underlying political events and conditions, and from these revelations they attempt to construct general principles about the way the world of politics works."

Geochronology Science of determining the age of rocks, sediments and fossils

Geochronology is the science of determining the age of rocks, fossils, and sediments using signatures inherent in the rocks themselves. Absolute geochronology can be accomplished through radioactive isotopes, whereas relative geochronology is provided by tools such as palaeomagnetism and stable isotope ratios. By combining multiple geochronological indicators the precision of the recovered age can be improved.

The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), sometimes referred to by the unofficial name "International Stratigraphic Commission" is a daughter or major subcommittee grade scientific daughter organization that concerns itself with stratigraphy, geological, and geochronological matters on a global scale.

Marine isotope stage Alternating warm and cool periods in the Earths paleoclimate, deduced from oxygen isotope data

Marine isotope stages (MIS), marine oxygen-isotope stages, or oxygen isotope stages (OIS), are alternating warm and cool periods in the Earth's paleoclimate, deduced from oxygen isotope data reflecting changes in temperature derived from data from deep sea core samples. Working backwards from the present, which is MIS 1 in the scale, stages with even numbers have high levels of oxygen-18 and represent cold glacial periods, while the odd-numbered stages are troughs in the oxygen-18 figures, representing warm interglacial intervals. The data are derived from pollen and foraminifera (plankton) remains in drilled marine sediment cores, sapropels, and other data that reflect historic climate; these are called proxies.

Nicholas Shackleton British geologist

Sir Nicholas John Shackleton FRS was an English geologist and paleoclimatologist who specialised in the Quaternary Period. He was the son of the distinguished field geologist Robert Millner Shackleton and great-nephew of the explorer Ernest Shackleton.

Donald Rusk Currey was an American professor of geography. While known in academia for his extensive research and exploration of relics of the ancient Lake Bonneville in the eastern Great Basin, he was best known to the public for his controversial felling of Prometheus, the oldest living non-clonal organism known at the time, while a graduate student in 1964.

Claude Hillaire-Marcel FRSC is a Canadian geoscientist working in Quaternary research. He is known for his research on the environment, climate change, and oceanography. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and professor at l'Université du Québec à Montréal.

John Ross Mackay, was a Canadian geographer. He is most noted for his explorations of permafrost phenomena in the western Canadian Arctic. His 40 plus years of study has enabled the building of pipeline operations and petroleum explorations in areas of frozen ground. The Royal Society of Canada stated the following when Mackay was awarded the Willet G. Miller Medal in 1975:

Thomas Edvard "Tom" Krogh, FRSC was a geochronologist and a former curator for the Royal Ontario Museum. He revolutionized the technique of radiometric uranium-lead dating with the development of new laboratory procedures and analytical methodologies. His discoveries have yielded an unprecedented level of precision in the dating of Precambrian rocks. Krogh's techniques have become the international de facto standard. The application of these techniques has provided a detailed understanding of the evolution of the Earth's Precambrian shield areas.

Amino acid dating is a dating technique used to estimate the age of a specimen in paleobiology, molecular paleontology, archaeology, forensic science, taphonomy, sedimentary geology and other fields. This technique relates changes in amino acid molecules to the time elapsed since they were formed.

The American Quaternary Association (AMQUA) is a professional organization of North American scientists devoted to studies of the quaternary geological period. They were founded in 1970 and their stated goals are to "foster cooperation and communication among the remarkably broad array of disciplines involved in studying the Quaternary Period". These disciplines include: anthropology, archaeology, botany, climatology, ecology, geochemistry, geochronology, geography, geology, geomorphology, geophysics, hydrology, limnology, meteorology, neotectonics, oceanography, paleontology, palynology, soil science, and zoology.

Lake Great Falls

Lake Great Falls was a prehistoric proglacial lake which existed in what is now central Montana in the United States between 15,000 BCE and 11,000 BCE. Centered on the modern city of Great Falls, Montana, Glacial Lake Great Falls extended as far north as Cut Bank, Montana, and as far south as Holter Lake. At present-day Great Falls, the Glacial Lake Great Falls reached a depth of 600 feet.

Quaternary International is a peer-reviewed scientific journal on Quaternary science published by Elsevier on behalf of the International Union for Quaternary Research. The journal was established in 1989 and covers full spectrum of the physical and natural sciences that are commonly employed in solving Quaternary problems. The editor-in-chief is Min-Te Chen.

Keli Highland Volcanic field

The Keli (Qeli) Highland is a volcanic field in Georgia on the western side of the Jvari Pass south to the Greater Caucasus range. More than thirty volcanic edifices on an area of 20x30km2 make up this volcanic field, which consists mostly of monogenetic volcanic structures. The lavas are rhyolites, trachyandesites and andesites.

Kunchithapadam Gopalan is an Indian geochronologist and an emeritus scientist at National Geophysical Research Institute. He is known for his studies on the chronologies of critical rock suites of the Indian subcontinent and is an elected fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Indian Geophysical Union and the National Academy of Sciences, India. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the apex agency of the Government of India for scientific research, awarded him the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, one of the highest Indian science awards for his contributions to earth, atmosphere, ocean and planetary sciences in 1982.

Ancient proteins are the remains of proteins which persist in the archaeological and fossil record. They are studied by a branch of molecular palaeontology, ancient protein research.