The magnetostratigraphy and the resulting geomagnetic polarity time scale (GPTS) for the Plio-Pleistocene series has now firmly been established, thanks to integration of excellent cyclostratigraphic records that have been tuned unambiguously to the astronomical solutions. Further perfection seems therefore hardly possible. However, the correlation between completely different realms can be still improved: coupling the marine record, the loess record (e.g. of China) and the lake record (e.g. Lake Baikal) requires further advancement through integrated stratigraphy. In this context, we discuss the advantages and pitfalls of further refinement of the GPTS through inclusion of short magnetic events that have been found to occur during the past few millions of years, both in the marine, continental and lake records. Integrated stratigraphy is required and has the advantage that major global events can be recognised through, for example, dating and documenting climate variability. We discuss the pitfalls and (dis)advantages of using geomagnetic polarity boundaries as GSSP.
We further discuss the correlation of the marine record, the loess record and the lake record, and how this correlation can be improved. As a case study, we present time-stratigraphic interpretations of late Pliocene to early Pleistocene sediments from onshore locations and from marginal marine settings of the North Sea Basin that often refer to the subdivision of the Dutch and British 'Quaternary' regional stratigraphic stages. Since age control for these stages and their stage boundaries were formerly based on relative dating methods, we present pollen, dinoflagellate cysts and foraminiferal records as well as the magnetostratigraphy and cyclostratigraphy of eight boreholes that were investigated to correlate the regional stratigraphic stages independently to the global chronostratigraphy and the paleomagnetic timescale.