eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
Earth Science cover
Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences
ISSN 1736-7557 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-4728 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.789

Development of the late glacial Baltic basin and the succession of vegetation cover as revealed at Palaeolake Haljala, northern Estonia; pp. 317–333

Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/earth.2009.4.10

Leili Saarse, Eve Niinemets, Leeli Amon, Atko Heinsalu, Siim Veski, Kadri Sohar


The 4.5 m thick Haljala sequence in North Estonia was studied to provide information on palaeoenvironmental changes between 13 800 and 11 300 cal yr BP. Late glacial environmental history of North Estonia was reconstructed using AMS-dated pollen record, sediment composition, plant macrofossils, and ostracods. The obtained data show environmental fluctuations that are linked to the climate shifts of the Last Termination in the North Atlantic region. Decrease in the arboreal pollen accumulation rate around 13 700–13 600 and 13 300–13 100 cal yr BP refers to short deterioration of climate within the Allerød Interstadial and has been correlated with the cooling of the Greenland Interstadial GI-1c and GI-1b events, respectively. Between 13 100 and 12 850 cal yr BP the pollen accumulation rate of trees, shrubs, and herb as well as organic matter increased, indicating short-term climate amelioration and establishment of pine-birch woods. This change has been correlated with the GI-1a event. Climate deterioration during the Younger Dryas (GS-1) was inferred from the reduction of tree pollen and flourishing of cold-tolerant species, such as Artemisia, Chenopodiaceae, and Cyperaceae. New data show that ice cover of the Pandivere Upland started to perish already about 13 800 cal yr BP.


Alley, R. B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews, 19, 213–226.

Bennett, K. D. 1994. Psimpoll version 2.23: a C program for analysing pollen data and plotting pollen diagrams. INQUA Commission for the study of the Holocene. Working group on data-handling methods. Newsletter, 11, 4–6.

Bennett, K. D. 1998. Documentation for psimpoll 3.01 and pscomb 1.03. C Programs for Plotting Pollen Diagrams and Analysing Pollen Data. From URL:

Berglund, B. E. & Ralska-Jasiewiczowa, M. 1986. Pollen analysis and pollen diagrams. In Handbook of Holocene Palaeoecology and Palaeohydrology (Berglund, B. E., ed.), pp. 455–484. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester.

Birks, H. H. 2000. Aquatic macrophyte vegetation development in Krakenes Lake, western Norway, during the late-glacial and early-Holocene. Journal of Paleolimnology, 23, 7–19.

Birks, H. H. 2001. Plant macrofossils. In Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments. Volume 3: Terrestrial, Algal, and Siliceous Indicators (Smol, J. P., Birks, H. J. B. & Last, W. M., eds), pp. 49–74. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.

Birks, H. J. B. & Line, J. M. 1992. The use of rarefaction analysis for estimating palynological richness from Quaternary pollen-analytical data. Holocene, 2, 1–10.

Björck, S., Walker, M. J. C., Cwynar, L. C., Johnsen, S., Knudsen, K.-L., Lowe, J. J., Wohlfarth, B. & INTIMATE Members. 1998. An event stratigraphy for the Last Termination in the North Atlantic region based on the Greenland ice-core record: a proposal by the INTIMATE group. Journal of Quaternary Science, 13, 283292.

De Deckker, P. 2002. Ostracod palaeoecology. In The Ostracoda: Applications in Quaternary Research. Geophysical Monograph 131(Holmes, J. A. & Chivas, A. R., eds), pp. 121–134. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC.

Demidov, I. N., Houmark-Nielsen, M., Kjaer, K. H. & Larsen, E. 2006. The last Scandinavian Ice Sheet in northwestern Russia: ice flow patterns and decay dynamics. Boreas, 35, 425443.

Duigan, C. A. & Birks, H. H. 2000. The Late-Glacial and early-Holocene palaeoecology of cladoceran microfossil assemblages at Krakenes, western Norway, with a quantitative reconstruction of temperature changes. Journal of Paleolimnology, 23, 67–76.

Feurdean, A. & Bennike, O. 2004. Late Quaternary palaeo­ecological and palaeoclimatological reconstruction in the Gutaiului Mountains, northwest Romania. Journal of Quaternary Science, 19, 809827.

Geiger, W. 1993. Cytherissa lacustris (Ostracoda, Crustacea): its use in detecting and reconstructing environmental changes at the sediment-water interface. Verhandlungen der Internationalen Vereinigung für theoretische und angewandte Limnologie, 25, 1102–1107.

Grimes, S. T., Brock, F., Rickard, D., Davies, K. L., Edwards, D., Briggs, D. E. G. & Parkes, R. J. 2001. Understanding fossilization: experimental pyritization of plants. Geology, 29, 123–126.

Grimm, E. C. 2000. TILIA and TILIA GRAPH, PC spread­sheet and graphics software for pollen data. INQUA Working Group on Data Handling Methods Newsletter, 4, 57.

Hicks, S. 2001. The use of annual arboreal pollen deposition values for delimiting tree-lines in the landscape and exploring models of pollen dispersal. Review of Palaeo­botany & Palynology, 117, 1–29.

Hoffmann, W. 2003. The long-term succession of high-altitude cladoceran assemblages: a 9000-year record from Sägistalsee (Swiss Alps). Journal of Paleo­limnology, 30, 291–296.

Ilves, E. 1980. Tartu radiocarbon dates X. Radiocarbon, 22, 1084–1089.

Ingerpuu, N. & Vellak, K. 1998. Textbook of Estonian bryo­phytes [Eesti sammalde määraja]. Eesti Loodusfoto, Tartu, 239 pp. [in Estonian].

Kalm, V. 2006. Pleistocene chronostratigraphy in Estonia, southeastern sector of the Scandinavian glaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 8, 960–975.

Karukäpp, R., Moora, T. & Pirrus, R. 1996. Geological events determining the Stone Age environment of Kunda. PACT, 51, 219–229.

Kullman, L. 2008. Early postglacial appearance of tree species in northern Scandinavia: review and perspective. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27, 2467–2472.

Lowe, J. J., Rasmussen, S. O., Björck, S., Hoek, W. Z., Steffensen, J. P., Walker, M. J. C., Yu, Z. C. & the INTIMATE group. 2008. Synchronisation of palaeo­environmental events in the North Atlantic region during the Last Termination: a revised protocol recommended by the INTIMATE group. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27, 617.

Mangerud, J., Andersen, S. T., Berglund, B. E. & Donner, J. J. 1974. Quaternary stratigraphy of Norden, a proposal for terminology and classification. Boreas, 3, 109128.

Männil, R. 1961. Über die auf dem Pandivere-Höhengebiet Verbreiteten Holozänen Seeablagerungen. Eesti NSV TA Geoloogia Instituudi Uurimused, VII, 115–133 [in Estonian, with German summary].

Männil, R. & Pirrus, R. 1963. Late glacial deposits in the profiles of Haljala and Võru. Eesti NSV Teaduste Akadeemia Uurimused, XII, 95–105 [in Russian, with English summary].

McManus, J. F., Francois, R., Gerardi, J.-M., Keigwin, L. D. & Brown-Leger, S. 2004. Collapse and rapid resumption of Atlantic meridional circulation linked to deglacial climate changes. Nature, 428, 834–837.

Meisch, C. 2000. Freshwater Ostracoda of Western and Central Europe. In Suesswasserfauna von Mitteleuropa 8/3 (Schwoerbel, J. & Zwick, P., eds), pp. 1522. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg.

Moor, P. D., Webb, J. A. & Collinson, M. E. 1991. Pollen analysis, 2nd ed. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 216 pp.

Pirrus, R. 1965. Viimase jäätumise hilisglatsiaalsete setete stratigraafiast Ida-Eestis [On the stratigraphy of late glacial deposits in East Estonia]. Eesti NSV Teaduste Akadeemia Geoloogia Instituut, Tallinn. Unpubl. Report. Manuscript in the Institute of Geology at Tallinn University of Technology. Tallinn, 62 pp. [in Estonian].

Pirrus, R. 1976. New information about stratigraphical subdivision of Late Glacial deposits of Kunda section (North Estonia). In Palinologiya v kontinental¢nykh i morskikh geologicheskikh issledovaniyakh [Palynology in Continental and Marine Geologic Investigations] (Bartosh, T., ed.), pp. 60–71. Zinatne, Riga [in Russian, with English summary].

Pirrus, R. & Raukas, A. 1996. Late-Glacial stratigraphy in Estonia. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Geology, 45, 34–45.

Pirrus, R. & Sarv, A. 1968. Eesti hilisglatsiaalsete ja holotseensete setete stratigraafiast mõnede palüno­loo­giliste tugiprofiilide alusel [Stratigraphy of late glacial and Holocene deposits based on some palynological key sections]. Manuscript in the Institute of Geology at Tallinn University of Technology. Tallinn, 173 pp. [in Estonian].

Raukas, A. & Stankowski, W. 2005. Influence of sedimento­logical composition on OSL dating of glaciofluvial deposits: examples from Estonia. Geological Quarterly, 49, 463–470.

Reimer, P. J., Baillie, M. G. L., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Beck, J. W., Bertrand, C., Blackwell, P. G., Buck, C. E., Burr, G., Cutler, K. B., Damon, P. E., Edwards, R. L., Fairbanks, R. G., Friedrich, M., Guilderson, T. P., Hughen, K. A., Kromer, B., McCormac, F. G., Manning, S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Reimer, R. W., Remmele, S., Southon, J. R., Stuiver, M., Talamo, S., Taylor, F. W., van der Plicht, J. & Weyhenmeyer, C. E. 2004. IntCal04 terrestrial radiocarbon age calibration, 0–26 cal kyr BP. Radiocarbon, 46, 1029–1058.

Rinterknecht, V. R., Clark, P. U., Raisbeck, G. M., Yiou, F., Bitinas, A., Brook, E. J., Marks, L., Zelčs, V., Lunkka, J.-P., Pavlovskaya, I. E., Piotrowski, J. A. & Raukas, A. 2006. The last deglaciation of the south­eastern sector of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet. Science, 311, 1449–1452.

Rosentau, A., Vassiljev, J., Saarse, L. & Miidel, A. 2007. Palaeogeographic reconstruction of proglacial lakes in Estonia. Boreas, 36, 211–221.

Saarse, L. & Liiva, A. 1995. Geology of the Äntu group of lakes. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Geology, 44, 119132.

Saarse, L., Poska, A., Kaup, E. & Heinsalu, A. 1998. Holocene environments in the Viitna area, North Estonia. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Geology, 47, 3144.

Saarse, L., Vassiljev, J. & Miidel, A. 2003. Simulation of the Baltic Sea shorelines in Estonia and neighbouring areas. Journal of Coastal Research, 19, 261268.

Saarse, L., Vassiljev, J., Rosentau, A. & Miidel, A. 2007. Reconstruction of late glacial shore displacement in Estonia. Baltica, 20, 3545.

Scharf, B. W. 1998. Eutrophication history of Lake Arendsee (Germany). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeo­ecology, 140, 8596.

Seppä, H. & Hicks, S. 2006. Integration of modern and past accumulation rate (PAR) records across the arctic tree-line: a method for more precise vegetation reconstructions. Quaternary Science Reviews, 25, 1501–1516.

Sohar, K. & Kalm, V. 2008. A 12.8-ka-long palaeoenviron­mental record revealed by subfossil ostracod data from lacustrine freshwater tufa in Lake Sinijärv, northern Estonia. Journal of Paleolimnology, 40, 809–821.

Stančikaite, M., Šinkūnas, P., Šeirienė, D. & Kisielienė, D. 2008. Patterns and chronology of the Lateglacial environmental development at Pamerkiai and Kašučiai, Lithuania. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27, 127–147.

Stockmarr, J. 1971. Tablets with spores used in absolute pollen analysis. Pollen et Spores, 13, 615–621.

Stuiver, M., Reimer, P. J. & Reimer, R. 2005. CALIB Radiocarbon Calibration (HTML Version 5.0).

Subetto, D. A., Wohlfarth, B., Davydova, N. N., Sapelko, T. V., Björkman, L., Solovieva, N., Wastegard, S., Possnert, G. & Khomutova, V. I. 2002. Climate and environment on the Karelian Isthmus, northwestern Russia, 13,000–9000 cal yrs BP. Boreas, 31, 119.

Tarasov, L. & Peltier, W. R. 2005. Arctic freshwater forcing of the Younger Dryas cold reversal. Nature, 435, 662665.

Teller, J. T., Leverington, D. W. & Mann, J. D. 2002. Fresh­water outbursts to the oceans from glacial Lake Agassiz and their role in climate change during the last deglaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 21, 879887.

Thomson, P. W. 1934. Eelkäivaid märkmeid uuemaist and­meist metsaajaloo kohta Eestis [Preliminary remarks on the newest data of the forest development in Estonia]. Eesti Loodus, II, 102103 [in Estonian].

Tovey, N. K. & Yim, W. W. S. 2002. Desiccation of Late Quaternary inner shelf sediments: microfabric observations. Quaternary International, 92, 73–87.

Ukkonen, P., Lõugas, L., Zagorska, I., Lukševica, L., Lukševics, E., Daugnora, L. & Junger, H. 2005. History of the reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in the eastern Baltic region and its implications for the origin and immigration routes of the recent northern European wild reindeer populations. Boreas, 35, 222230.

Väliranta, M., Kultti, S. & Seppä, H. 2006. Vegetation dynamics during the Younger DryasHolocene transition in the extreme northern taiga zone, northeastern European Russia. Boreas, 35, 202212.

Vassiljev, J., Saarse, L. & Miidel, A. 2005. Simulation of the proglacial lake shore displacement in Estonia. Geological Quarterly, 49, 253262.

Wohlfarth, B., Filimonova, L., Bennike, O., Björkman, L., Brunnberg, L., Lavrova, N., Demidov, I. & Possnert, G. 2002. Late-Glacial and Early Holocene environmental and climatic change at Lake Tambichozero, southeastern Russian Karelia. Quaternary Research, 58, 261272.

Wohlfarth, B., Tarasov, P., Bennike, O., Lacourse, T., Subetto, D., Torssander, P. & Romanenko, F. 2006. Late glacial and Holocene palaeoenvironmental changes in the Rostov-Yaroslavl area, West Central Russia. Journal of Paleolimnology, 35, 543569.

Wohlfarth, B., Lacourse, T., Bennike, O., Subetto, D., Tarasov, P., Demidov, I., Filimonova, L. & Sapelko, T. 2007. Climatic and environmental changes in north-western Russia between 15,000 and 8000 cal yr BP: a review. Quaternary Science Reviews, 26, 18711883.

Yansa, C. H. 1998. Holocene paleovegetation and paleo-hydrology of a prairie pothold in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. Journal of Paleolimnology, 19, 429–441.

Back to Issue