The Pre-Illinoian Stage is used by Quaternary geologists for the early and middle Pleistocene glacial and interglacial periods of geologic time in North America from ~2.5–0.2 Ma (million years ago).[1]

North America

As the oldest stage in the North American regional subdivision of the Quaternary, the Pre-Illinoian precedes the Illinoian Stage.[2][3] Researchers have identified 11 distinct glacial stages during the Pre-Illinoian Stage.

The Pleistocene prior to the Illinoian stage had previously been subdivided into the Nebraskan, Aftonian, Kansan, and Yarmouthian stages (ages).[4] However, detailed studies of these stages revealed that the assumptions and criteria on which they were defined proved to be wrong to such a point that these stages became meaningless in terms of the actual glacial–interglacial record.[5][6][7]

For example, instead of two glaciations having occurred prior to the Illinoian Stage, researchers found that 11 distinct glaciations had occurred. In addition, what was presumed to have been a single volcanic ash bed, which was used to correlate and differentiate between Kansan and Nebraskan glacial deposits, was found to be three volcanic ash beds of greatly differing ages. Similarly, paleosols used in the definition of the stages were found to have been greatly miscorrelated, as they consisted of paleosols of greatly differing ages. Because of these and other major problems, the concepts on which the Nebraskan, Aftonian, Kansan, and Yarmouthian (Yarmouth) stages are defined were discredited. North American geologists discarded these stages as unusable and merged them into the Pre-Illinoian Stage.[2][8]

Great Britain

The Pre-Illinoian stage is contemporary with the Bramertonian, Pre-Pastonian, Pastonian, Beestonian, Cromerian, Anglian, Hoxnian, and lower most Wolstonian stages of the British Isles combined.[9] The end of the Pre-Illinoian stage has been correlated to the end of Marine Isotope Stage 9 at 300,000 BP.[2][3][10][11] More recent geologic mapping, coring, and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of Illinoian glacial tills (Glasford Formation) and outwash (Pearl Formation) of the Illinoian Glacial Lobe in North-central Illinois demonstrates that the start of the Illinoian stage and end of the Pre-Illinoian stage correlates with the beginning of Marine Isotope Stage 6 at 191,000 BP.[10][12][13][14]

See also


  1. Attig, John W.; Mickelson, David M. (1999). Glacial processes past and present. Boulder, Colo: The Geological Society of America, Inc. ISBN 0-8137-2337-X.
  2. Hallberg, G.R. (1986). "Pre-Wisconsin glacial stratigraphy of the Central Plains region in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri". Quaternary Science Reviews. 5: 11–15. doi:10.1016/0277-3791(86)90169-1.
  3. Richmond, G.M. & D.S. Fullerton (1986). "Summation of Quaternary glaciations in the United States of America". Quaternary Science Reviews. 5: 183–196. doi:10.1016/0277-3791(86)90184-8.
  4. Flint, Richard Foster (2008). Glacial Geology And The Pleistocene Epoch. Lodge Press. ISBN 1-4437-2173-5.
  5. Dort W (November 1966). "Nebraskan and kansan stades: complexit and importance". Science. 154 (3750): 771–2. doi:10.1126/science.154.3750.771. PMID 17745986.
  6. Boellstorff, J (1978). "Chronology of some Late Cenozoic deposits from the central United States and the Ice Ages" (pdf). Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Science. 6: 35–49. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  7. Boellstorff J (October 1978). "North American pleistocene stages reconsidered in light of probable pliocene-pleistocene continental glaciation". Science. 202 (4365): 305–7. doi:10.1126/science.202.4365.305. PMID 17817644.
  8. Roy, M.; P.U. Clark; R.W. Barendregt; J.R. Glasmann & R.J. Enkin (2004). "Glacial stratigraphy and paleomagnetism of late Cenozoic deposits of the north-central United States" (pdf). Geological Society of America Bulletin. 116: 30–41. doi:10.1130/B25325.1. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  9. Cohen KM, Gibbard PL (2011). "Global chronostratigraphical correlation table for the last 2.7 million years". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  10. Lisiecki, L.E., 2005, Ages of MIS boundaries. LR04 Benthic Stack Boston University, Boston, MA
  11. Lisiecki, L.E., and M.E. Raymo, 2005, "A Pliocene-Pleistocene stack of 57 globally distributed benthic d18O records", Paleoceanography, vol. 20, PA1003, doi:10.1029/2004PA001071
  12. McKay, E.D. (2007). "Six Rivers, Five Glaciers, and an Outburst Flood: the Considerable Legacy of the Illinois River". Proceedings of the 2007 Governor's Conference on the Management of the Illinois River System: Our continuing Commitment 11th Biennial Conference, Oct. 2-4, 2007 (pdf). p. 11. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  13. McKay, E.D.; Berg R.C. (2008). "Optical ages spanning two glacial-interglacial cycles from deposits of the ancient Mississippi River, north-central Illinois". Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. 40: 78. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  14. Hansel, A.K. & E.D. McKay (2010). "Quaternary Period". In Keith C. Hackley; Kolata, Dennis R.; Shilts, William W.; Leighton, Morris W.; McBride, John; Sargent, Michael G.; Thomas G. Hildenbrand; Donald G. Mikulic; Joanne Kluessendor; Rodney D. Norby; Cheryl K. Nimz; Joseph A. Devera; Russell J. Jacobson; Ardith K. Hansel; Wang, Hong & Samuel V. Panno (eds.). Geology of Illinois. Illinois State Geological Survey. ISBN 0-615-41739-6.

Further reading

  • Ehlers, J., and P.L. Gibbard, 2004a, Quaternary Glaciations: Extent and Chronology 2: Part II North America, Elsevier, Amsterdam. ISBN 0-444-51462-7
  • Gillespie, A.R., S.C. Porter, and B.F. Atwater, 2004, The Quaternary Period in the United States. Developments in Quaternary Science no. 1. Elsevier, Amsterdam. ISBN 978-0-444-51471-4
  • Mangerud, J., J. Ehlers, and P. Gibbard, 2004, Quaternary Glaciations: Extent and Chronology 1: Part I Europe, Elsevier, Amsterdam. ISBN 0-444-51462-7
  • Sibrava, V., Bowen, D.Q, and Richmond, G.M., eds., 1986, Quaternary Glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere, Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 5, pp. 1-514.
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