Abstract

Though the stratigraphical and palaeogeographical framework of the Quaternary in Poland is still to be completed, several crucial points have been confirmed recently. The preglacial series, accepted for years as belonging to the Lower Pleistocene, is undoubtedly of Early Pliocene age, with a huge hiatus above almost until the uppermost Lower Pleistocene. The earliest glaciation in Poland (Nidanian) occurred at about 900 ka BP when the ice sheet reached the mid-southern part of the country. The following Podlasian Interglacial embraced the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary in the middle, in a similar fashion to the corresponding Cromerian Complex in Western Europe. The late Early and early Middle Pleistocene interglacials in Poland comprised 2–3 optima each, whereas every one of the younger interglacials was characterised by a single optimum only. The Late Vistulian ice sheet was most extensive in the western part of Poland (Leszno Phase) whereas the younger Poznań Phase was more extensive in the central and eastern part of the country. This was due to the varied distance from the glaciation center in Scandinavia, making the ice sheet margin reach a terminal position in different times. Palaeoclimatological research in the Tatra Mountains has provided new evidence for the atmospheric circulation over Europe. During cold phases of the Pleistocene in Poland a continental climate extended further westwards, quite the opposite that occurring during warmer intervals.

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