Delle molte ''ritmiti'' <ref>Con ritmite s'intende ognuna delle serie ritmiche di fondi sedimentari; sinonimo di varva</ref> trovate nelle registrazioni geologiche, le varve sono uno degli studi più importanti ed illuminanti sui mutamenti climatici del passato. Le varve sono tra gli eventi nella più piccola scala riconosciuti nella [[stratigrafia]].
== Storia della ricerca sulla varva ==
Although the term varve was not introduced until the late nineteenth century, the concept of an annual rhythm of deposition is at least two centuries old. In the 1840s, [[Edward Hitchcock|Hitchcock]] suspected laminated sediment in North America could be seasonal, and in 1884 [[Warren Upham]] postulated that light- dark laminated couplets represented a single years deposition. Despite these early forays, the chief pioneer and populariser of varve research was Gerard De Geer. While working for the Geological Survey of Sweden, De Geer noticed a close visual similarity between the laminated sediments he was mapping, and [[ dendrochronology| tree-rings]]. This prompted him to suggest the coarse-fine couplets frequently found in the sediments of glacial lakes were annual layers.
The first varve [[ chronology]] was constructed by De Geer in [[ Stockholm]] in the late 19th century. Further work soon followed, and a network of sites along the east coast of Sweden was established. The varved sediments exposed in these sites had formed in glaciolacustrine and glacimarine conditions in the Baltic basin as the last ice sheet retreated northwards. By 1914, De Geer had discovered that it was possible to compare varve sequences across long distances by matching variations in varve thickness, and distinct marker laminae. However, this discovery led De Geer and many of his co-workers to making incorrect correlations, which they called 'teleconnections', between continents, a process criticised by other varve pioneers like Ernst Antevs.
In 1924 a special laboratory dedicated to varve research - the Geochronological Institute - was established. De Geer and his co-workers and students made trips to other countries and continents to investigate varved sediments. Ernst Antevs studied sites from [[Long Island]], U.S.A. to [[Lake Timiskaming]] and [[Hudson Bay]], [[Canada]], and created a North American varve chronology. Carl Caldenius visited [[Patagonia]] and [[Tierra del Fuego]], and Erik Norin visited central [[Asia]]. By this stage, other geologists were investigating varve sequences, including Matti Sauramo who constructed a varve chronology of the last deglaciation in [[Finland]].