SACCOM Projects & Activities

INQUA IFG 1612F Section on European Quaternary Stratigraphy (SEQS-DATESTRA)

SEQS is a group devoted to the study of the Quaternary Period in Europe, the last 2.6 million years of Earth’s history. This interdisciplinary group is concerned with the Quaternary stratigraphy of Europe. It provides a forum for Quaternary scientists to discuss and establish stratigraphical investigations and classification throughout the European continent, one of the most significant and densely investigated regions of the World. It seeks to achieve this through the organization of regular meetings, publications and publicity. In addition a network of Working Groups with a specific mandates are established under the auspices of the Subcommission.

During the 2016-2019 Intercongress period SEQS will establish a Geographic Stratigraphical Database of Terrestrial European key-sites: DATESTRA. This is a European Geographic Stratigraphical Database that will summarize the activities and the projects carried out by SEQS during the previous Intra-Congress periods when scientists from all over Europe and adjacent areas during the SEQS annual Meetings visited, observed and discussed highly detailed sedimentary records and depositional sequences in different geodynamic contexts. DATESTRA should constitute the first step to create a common base for all the Quaternary scientists who want to have a concise overview of the main stratigraphical subdivisions across the boundaries of Europe.

Leaders: Markus Fiebig (Austria); Pierluigi Pieruccini (Italy); Guzel Danukalova (Russia)

Contact: Prof Markus Fiebig (   

Website link SEQS:

Website link DATESTRA:

Project 1614P : Cross checking of stratigraphic data (CROSSTRAT ADVANCED)

Project 1614P details

INQUA IFG 1709F Ponto-Caspian Stratigraphy and Geochronology (POCAS)

POCAS is devoted to the study of the geology of the Ponto-Caspian region during the Quaternary as a single geographic entity, bypassing linguistic/political/disciplinary boundaries, linking continents (Europe and Asia) more closely, and encouraging East-West dialogue and cooperation among researchers.

The Ponto-Caspian is defined here as a chain of intercontinental basins that encompasses the Caspian, Black, Azov seas, the Kerch Strait, the Manych Valley, and their coasts. This chain represents a unique oceanographic system of relict Paratethys basins which were repeatedly connected and isolated from each other during the Quaternary. This predetermined their environmental conditions and hydrologic regimes, and imposed specific impacts on diverse biological populations. Due to its geographical location and semi-isolation from the open ocean, this region acts as a paleoenvironmental amplifier and a sensitive recorder of climatic events, in particular glacial-interglacial cycles on the Eastern European Plain and mountains, as well as transgressive-regressive sea-level variations; thus, it can be considered as a type region where geological history is well recorded in a long series of marine and continental sediments to be used for the development of the Pleistocene stratigraphy and geochronology of Central Eurasia. Geological record of the Ponto-Caspian region history reveals the development of global climatic changes, glacial-interglacial rhythms of the East European plain and mountain areas of the Caucasus and Central Asia, the history of his connection with the Oceans. The Ponto-Caspian is therefore a type region that could provide a stratigraphic and paleogeographic scheme of the Pleistocene events in Central Eurasia.

Leaders: Valentina Yanko-Hombach (Canada); Tamara Yanina (Russia); Redzhep Kurbanov (Turkmenistan)

Contact: Prof Valentina Yanko-Hombach (   

INQUA IFG 1708F Northeastern African Quaternary Stratigraphy (NAQS)

The main goal of NAQS is discussion concerning development of a formal and uniform late Pleistocene and Holocene climatostratigraphic division for the area of Northeastern Africa with special attention devoted to Egypt and Sudan.

NAQS has also been designed to highlight results of interdisciplinary geoarchaeological and paleoclimatological research by specialists from a broad field of disciplines in the humanities and geosciences made in Northeastern Africa (Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia). The main objective of NAQS is to work towards building a platform for meaningful exchange of information and experience among archaeologists, geologists, geographers, climatologists and researchers from related fields.

Meetings, workshops and conferences in the frame of NAQS will hopefully lead to new research projects and initiatives, contributing to broaden knowledge of man’s interactions with the natural environment in North Africa during late Pleistocene and Holocene.

Leaders: Leszek Marks (Poland); Fabian Welc (Poland); Lenka Lisá (Czech Republic)

Contact: Prof Leszek Marks (   

Website link:

INQUA IFG 1707F Loess and pedostratigraphy

The International Focus Group on Loess and Pedostratigraphy originated at the 6th INQUA Congress in Poland in 1961 as the INQUA Sub-Commission of European Loess Stratigraphy, a specialist group operating within the remit of the Stratigraphy Commission. This initiative was due to Julius Fink of the University of Vienna and it was his vision of loess research in Europe which provided the structure and drove forward the activities of the sub-commission in the early days. In fact it was Fink’s vision which carried the Loess Commission through its entire 40 year existence. At the 8th INQUA Congress in Paris in 1969 the Sub-Commission was upgraded to full Commission status, and by then the programe was settled and a considerable amount of activity had occurred. The aim was to study loess stratigraphy all across Europe, and to develop continent wide correlations. This would be assisted by annual meetings in the various participating countries, and by the preparation of the INQUA Loess Map of Europe. Also there was the general belief that the study of loess could add to the better understanding of the Quaternary period.

Leaders: Slobodan B. Marković (Serbia); Shiling Yang (China); Erick A. Oches (USA); Paul Hesse (Australia)

Contact: Dr Slobodan B. Marković (   

Website link:

INQUA IFG 1710P Tephrochronology and Volcanism (INTAV)

The International Focus Group on Tephrochronology and Volcanism is a worldwide collective of geoscientists with a central interest in tephra (volcanic ash) studies and their application as a linking, dating, and synchronising tool in a wide range of disciplines including Quaternary stratigraphy, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, physical geography, geomorphology, pedology/palaeopedology, archaeology, geochronology, and also volcanology, including volcanic stratigraphy, volcanic petrology, and volcanic hazards and impacts. The word ‘tephra’ derives from a Greek word meaning 'ashes'. Tephrochonology refers to the use of tephras as a stratigraphic linking and dating tool but it is also used more broadly as a collective term for the study of tephras. People who study tephras and their application are referred to as tephrochronologists.

The INTAV executive and >100 members believe strongly in the importance of tephrochonologists being connected through INTAV and its activities. INTAV has been reaffirmed as an IFG through to 2019. The current core project of INTAV (2015-2019), EXTRAS (“Extending tephras”), is to enhance tephrochronology as a global research tool and its application in multiple Quaternary disciplines and volcanology. This aim is being met through seven objectives that contribute to improving the methodologies of tephrochronology and thus, through chronostratigraphy, support and underpin many Quaternary projects as well as geochronological and volcanological applications.

Leaders: Takehiko Suzuki (Japan); Britta Jensen (Canada); Peter Abbott (Switzerland/UK); Siwan Davies (UK); David Lowe (New Zealand)

Contact: Prof Takehiko Suzuki (   

Website link:

Facebook link:

INQUA IFG Virtual Seminar Series Advances in Stratigraphy and Geochronology Virtual Seminar Series

The Stratigraphy and Chronology Commission (SACCOM) of INQUA is organizing a series of virtual talks on a diverse range of geochronology and stratigraphy topics during the coming Spring. These will be held live on Thursdays at 9 am USA EST, 2 pm London, 3 pm Paris, and 10 pm Beijing time. Please see the Zoom link below and most of the talks will be recorded. Please see the full program below:


April 22

Konstantinos Panagiotopoulos (University of Cologne, Germany)

"Vegetation and climate dynamics in southeastern Europe since the Early Pleistocene: a chronostratigraphical approach"


April 29          

Sarah Finkelstein (University of Toronto, Canada)

“Biostratigraphy and chronology of sub-till organic-bearing deposits in the Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada”


May 6 

Pinkey Bisht (Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, India)    

“Chronology and climatic implications of Late Quaternary glaciations in Central Himalaya with special focus in the upper Kali Ganga valley, Uttarakhand”


May 13

Leah Morgan (U.S. Geological Survey, USA)       

“Tephrochronology by Ar/Ar: methods and applications in paleoanthropology”


May 20           

Matthew Kirby (California State University Fullerton, USA)    

“Re-visiting Lake Mojave Using a Basin Analysis Approach: Trying to Resolve a Complex History of Lake Level Change”


May 27

Tom Higham (University of Oxford, England)    

“Improving chronology building of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic of Eurasia”


June 3 

Quentin Simon (CEREGE, France)          

“Atmospheric beryllium-10, a versatile cosmogenic nuclide for relative and radiometric dating”


June 10           

Bob Booth (Lehigh University, USA)        

“Wetland and forest responses to Holocene moisture variability: insights from the peatland paleoenvironmental archive”


June 17           

Kenneth Mertens (IFREMER, Concarneau, France)     

Never mind the dinosaurs, here's the dinoflagellates


June 24

Kathleen Wendt (Oregon State University, USA)            

“The Devils Hole U-series chronology: new insights from a peculiar cave in Nevada,



(Overseen by Lewis Owen on behalf of SACCOM)




Advances in Stratigraphy and Geochronology

Thursday, April 22⋅9:00 – 10:00am

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