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Abstract

The correlation and classification of Quaternary deposits is desirable for three principal reasons. First, as an exercise in lithostratigraphy, the basis of all stratigraphy and the means for understanding geological history. Second, to establish the stratigraphical relationship of units from which inferences may be drawn about palaeoclimate. This provides information for understanding the past, present and possible future climate system. Third, to provide standardized geological information for different users. The first of these is largely self-evident. The second is less so. But some success in the correlation of terrestrial deposits with ocean sediments and ice-cores from Greenland has made a fundamental contribution to describing the climate system and an emerging understanding of the leads and lags in the coupled ocean–atmosphere–hydro(cryo)- sphere–biosphere system. This has placed new and exacting requirements of terrestrial data for correlation hitherto only available on long time-scales from relatively few sites with the necessary high degree of resolution. To that extent the second edition of this report a quarter of a century since its first edition benefits from the explosion of new data, new methods of geochronology and better awareness of the importance of the wider picture.

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