Here we present the first compilation of sediment volumes, sedimentation rates, and chronology of Quaternary sediment packages along the entire marine margin of the Eurasian ice sheets (EurIS; British–Irish, Kara–Barents Sea–Svalbard, and Fennoscandian). This compilation allows for a subdivision of the EurIS development into three phases (2.6–1.5 Ma, 1.5–0.78 Ma, and 0.78–0 Ma). At the start of the Quaternary, sedimentation rates increased, relative to pre-Quaternary rates, by an order of magnitude. This abruptness in rate change excludes tectonic raising of landmasses as the main factor, but more likely reflects climate change through increased glacial erosion. The sediment distribution data suggest that the Kara–Barents Sea–Svalbard Ice Sheet (KBSIS) already was quite large at the beginning of the Quaternary, and well before 1.5 Ma it extended to the shelf edge and coalesced with the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS), which prior to 1.5 Ma most likely was located near the coast. Large ice streams and intense glacial erosion characterized the KBSIS in the 1.5–0.78 Ma time period, whereas the FIS at that time extended farther out on the continental shelf. After 0.78 Ma, a north-south change in EurIS development occurred. In the FIS and the British– Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS), large ice streams developed and shelf-edge glaciations occurred nearly 1 m.y. later compared to the KBSIS. The FIS and BIIS also repetitively coalesced in the North Sea. A significant drop in sediment input along the KBSIS marine margin, to the lowest Quaternary level, suggests a less erosive KBSIS.

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