The 1.35-Ma-long terrestrial climate archive of Tenaghi Philippon, northeastern Greece: Evolution, exploration, and perspectives for future research

Joerg Pross, Andreas Koutsodendris, Kimon Christanis, Tobias Fischer, William J. Fletcher, Mark Hardiman, Stavros Kalaitzidis, Maria Knipping, Ulrich Kotthoff, Alice Milner, Ulrich C. Müller, Gerhard Schmiedl, George Siavalas, Polychronis C. Tzedakis, Sabine Wulf

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Since the first pollen analyses from core material in the 1960s, the limnotelmatic sequence of Tenaghi Philippon, located within the subsurface of the Drama Basin of NE Greece, has been recognized as an exceptional archive of terrestrial climate and ecosystem dynamics for the Quaternary in Europe. The polleniferous sequence covers the last ∼ 1.35 Ma continuously, spanning at least 19 consecutive glacial-interglacial cycles. Analyses of Tenaghi Philippon as based on the drillcores from the 1960s were restricted to a millennial-scale resolution. Because the original cores have deteriorated, the archive's potential for analyzing abrupt (i.e., centennial- to decadal-scale) climate and ecosystem change has long remained unexplored. Therefore new drilling campaigns were carried out in 2005 and 2009 to recover the 0–60 m and 50–200 m depth intervals of the archive, respectively. The new cores (recovery: 97.8 and 99.0 %, respectively) allow characterization of the evolution of abrupt climate and ecosystem variability across the full range of climatic boundary conditions realized during the late obliquity-dominated ‘41-ka world’ and the eccentricity-dominated ‘100-ka world’. The resulting climate data will also assist paleoanthropologists in resolving the dispersal dynamics of archaic and modern humans into Eurasia. In light of these new research initiatives, and because much of the previous literature on Tenaghi Philippon is from sources that are partially difficult to access, we here provide a review of the geological evolution of the Tenaghi Philippon archive, its present-day environmental conditions and its exploration history. We further give a synopsis of recent work based on the new cores and discuss the perspectives for future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-276
Number of pages24
JournalNewsletters on Stratigraphy
Issue number3
Early online dateJun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • abrupt climate change
  • terrestrial ecosystems
  • pollen
  • scientific drilling

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