The variations in weight percent of the grain size fraction greater than 250 μ in nine cores from the North Pacific were determined using sampling intervals of 5 to 20 cm. Material in this size fraction is interpreted as transported by icebergs, and fluctuations are attributed to the waxing and waning of glaciers on the surrounding continents. At least eleven periods of increased ice rafting are detected in the cores during the time from 1.2 m.y. ago to the present, whereas only about four are identified from 1.2 m.y. to 2.5 m.y. B.P. The dating and time correlations are based on the magnetic stratigraphy, ash falls, and faunal extinctions.
The ice-rafted detritus indicates a cooling beginning about 1.2 m.y. ago and becoming very intense between the Jaramillo event and the Brunhes-Matuyama boundary. This time may correspond to the initiation of mid-latitude glaciations of Europe and North America. At least six zones of ice-rafted sediment are present in the Brunhes normal polarity series. The correlations between these and the carbonate fluctuations of the central Pacific are good. Evidence for a marked interglacial ranging from about 460,000 to 530,000 yrs B.P. occurs within these cores. This interglacial may be worldwide in extent.