The central Mediterranean region has long been recognized as a crucial reference area for studying global climate variability during the Pliocene and Pleistocene series (5.33 Ma 11.7 ka). Its significance stems from the remarkable preservation of its open marine successions, which serve as a treasure trove of paleoclimatic and paleoecological proxies. Along the coasts of southern Italy, specifically in the Calabria and Sicily regions, these successions offer an extraordinary pristine and diverse record, rich in invaluable insights into past climatic conditions and ecological dynamics (Cita et al., 2008). In this context, the Monte San Nicola area in southern Sicily stands out with its exceptional stratigraphic succession, which served as the reference point for defining the Gelasian Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) in 1998 (approximately 2.58 Ma). The succession covers one of the most compelling and critical time intervals for the recent global climate evolution, namely the Piacenzian-Gelasian boundary at 2.58 Ma, which witnessed profound changes in Earth’s climate system, epitomized by the onset of “ice ages” at around 2.6 Ma and the definitive establishment of large ice caps in the Northern Hemisphere. Recently redefined as the basal Pleistocene Stage (Head et al., 2008), the Monte San Nicola section reveals a triplet of glacial episodes found immediately above the Gelasian GSSP (i.e., the MIS 100 - MIS 98 - MIS 96 glacials) correlating to the definitive onset of the Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (NHG). Despite recent studies on both the historical Monte San Nicola section, where the Gelasian GSSP is located, and adjacent profiles (such as the “Mandorlo section” by Capraro et al., 2022) provided information on the long-term climatic evolution across the Gelasian and the MIS 100 glacial in particular (Becker et al., 2005), a detailed documentation across the Piacenzian/ Gelasian boundary is still sparse. Our current research focuses on reconstructing a high-resolution and chronologically sound benthic isotopic (δ18O and δ13C) record across the Mandorlo section, with a specific focus on the interval straddling the Piacenzian/Gelasian boundary. Results gained so far proved critical for pinning the Gauss-Matuyama geomagnetic reversal and establishing the relative positions of the main key criteria for recognizing the boundary, as well as new insights on the oceanographic and climatic evolution of the central Mediterranean at the beginning of the Northern Hemisphere Glaciation.
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