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Saale
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Saale Glacial Stage, Saalian cold stage
CATEGORY: chronology
DEFINITION: A division of Pleistocene deposits and time in northern Europe which followed the Holstein Interglacial Stage and preceded the Eemian Interglacial Stage. It was the penultimate cold stage in northern Europe, c 200,000-125,000 BP. The extensive and complex Saale deposits are correlated with the Wolstonian (or Gipping) Glacial Stage of Britain and the Riss Glacial Stage of the European Alpine region. The Saale is roughly contemporaneous with the Illinoian Glacial Stage of North America. The Saale has three complex phases: the Drente, Treene, and Warthe substages. The Drente and Warthe represent periods of glacial advance, or maxima, whereas the Treene represents an interstadial period of glacial retreat between the early Drente and the late Warthe. In the region of central Europe, the Saale is represented by three glacial maxima separated by two periods, or interstadials, of moderating climatic conditions. One of the main features is a complex series of end-moraines, demarcating the maximum extent of ice sheets. These ice sheets flowed out from centers in Scandinavia, across the Baltic Sea and into northern Europe and Russia. The end-moraines are split into two sets: one called the Drenthe moraines (or Dnieper), and the Warthe moraines (Moscow in the USSR). These formations are complex and each seems to represent several 'pulses' of the ice-sheet edge. The Saale Glacial Stage was named for the German river, a tributary of the Elbe.

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