Adrian Hall & Mikis van Boeckel (2020): Origin of the Baltic Sea basin by Pleistocene glacial erosion, GFF, DOI: 10.1080/11035897.2020.1781246
The present marine Baltic Sea basin (BSB) occupies an eroded Proterozoic intra-cratonic basin on the Fennoscandian shield. Competing models propose a Neogene fluvial origin, with later modification by glacial erosion, or a much younger development, with overdeepening beneath the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS). We test these alternatives using a first order source to sink sediment budget for the catchment of the BSB. Best estimates derived from geomorphic and cosmogenic nuclide evidence suggest depths of erosion over the last 1 Ma of 20 m in basement and 40 m in sedimentary rocks that surround the BSB. As the BSB has been overdeepened below a regional base level provided by the shallow Darss Sill at the boundary with the Kattegat, erosion of the BSB may be interpreted as glacial in origin, without a fluvial component. The estimated total volume of source area erosion is 30,628 km³ of which 87% is derived from the present BSB. Sediment volumes in the sink area within the limits of maximum Pleistocene glaciation are estimated at a minimum of 37,629 km³, after correction for local erosion, porosity, and carbonate losses. Marine Isotope Stage 12 and younger sediments account for 87% of the total Pleistocene sediment volume in the sink in Poland. Although significant uncertainties remain, the sediment budget is consistent with erosion of the BSB entirely by the FIS, mainly when the ice sheet reached its maximum extent and thickness during the Middle and Late Pleistocene glaciations.