ASGP (2021), vol. 91: 327–345


Sławomir TERPIŁOWSKI (1*) , Tomasz ZIELIŃSKI (2) , Przemysław MROCZEK (1) , Paweł ZIELIŃSKI (1) , Piotr CZUBLA (3) & Stanisław FEDOROWICZ (4)

1) Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Kraśnicka 2d, 20-718 Lublin, Poland; e-mails:;;
2) Institute of Geology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Krygowskiego 12,61-680 Poznań, Poland, e-mail:
3) Department of Geology and Geomorphology, Łódź University, Narutowicza 88, 90-139 Łódź, Poland, e-mail:
4) Department of Geomorphology and Quaternary Geology, University of Gdańsk, Bażyńskiego 4, 80-950 Gdańsk, Poland, e-mail:
*) Corresponding author

Terpiłowski, S., Zieliński, T., Mroczek, P., Zieliński, P., Czubla, P. & Fedorowicz, S., 2021. New evidence for the rank of the Wartanian cold period (Pleistocene, MIS 6): a case study from E Poland. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 91: 327–345.

Abstract: In the stratigraphic division of the Saalian (Middle Pleistocene) in Europe, the Wartanian cold period has the rank of a stadial of the Odranian Glaciation, correlated with MIS 6. The authors demonstrate the higher rank of this cold period, on the basis of an analysis of the sedimentary succession in eastern Poland, at an exposure of the terminal moraine of the Wartanian ice sheet. At the Wólka Zagórna site, three stratigraphic units were distinguished: A (lower glacigenic deposits – glaciofluvial deposits and subglacial till), A/B (fossil soil of lessivé type), B and C (a periglacial horizon with deflation pavement, involutions, frost-wedge structures and upper glaciofluvial deposits and flow till, with ice-wedge casts). Two distinct periods of climatic cooling, associated with the youngest Saalian ice sheets, were recorded in this succession in E Poland: Odranian (unit A, an ice-sheet transgression marked by the deposition of glaciofluvial deposits dated as 365–226 ka, ending with the deposition of subglacial till), and Wartanian (units B and C, an ice sheet transgression marked by development of a periglacial zone, dated as 180–126 ka, and then deposition of glacigenic sediments at the front of the ice sheet and formation of a marginal moraine). Each of these periods of ice-sheet transgression occurred at a different time (in the MIS 8 and MIS 6 positions) and were separated by a warm period. It is documented by unit A/B – a fossil soil with a very well developed Bt horizon – which attests to its formation in an illuviation process beneath a complex of mixed forests during an interstadial warming that occurred in MIS 7. From this palaeoclimatic reconstruction, it is inferred that the Wartanian cold period should be viewed as a separate glaciation in MIS 6 and the Odranian period should be assigned to MIS 8 in the stratigraphic schema of the Quaternary.

Manuscript received 29 May 2021, accepted 12 October 2021