European Glacial Landscapes: The Last Deglaciation brings together relevant experts on the history of glaciers and their impact on the landscape of the main European regions. The European glaciers ended their maximum expansion of the Last Glacial Cycle approximately 20,000 years ago, when ice-sheets covered all the Scandinavian countries, Finland, much of the British Isles, the shores of the Baltic Sea and Central Europe until roughly the present Rhine River. The glaciers covered also large areas of the main European mountains, such as the Urals, the Carpathians, the Alps, the Balkans, the Pyrenees, etc. Glaciers were also present even in the southernmost mountains, sometimes forming remarkable ice caps with cirque glaciers on relatively low mountains bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Soon after the Last Glacial Maximum from around 20,000 years ago a rapid process of glacial retreat began throughout Europe, which was interrupted several times by abrupt cooling of the climate, which caused rapid, though limited, re-advance of the glaciers, until the beginning of the Holocene, 11,700 years ago when climate became relatively stable and warm. These successive glacial advances and retreats during the Last Deglaciation have shaped much of the European landscape, reflecting abrupt climatic fluctuations. The Last deglaciation is especially important for the landscape of Europe because the evidence is so well-preserved since it records the most recent evidence of the Pleistocene ice age. In recent decades, research on the origin and age of the resulting glacial landforms has greatly improved in many regions of Europe. In addition, the evolution of the climate is becoming better known through detailed analysis of lacustrine and marine sediments, and Greenland ice cores.
As our knowledge on abrupt climate changes since the Last Glacial Maximum progresses, new uncertainties arise that are critical for understanding (i) the influence of atmospheric and oceanic currents on palaeoclimates and their spatial representation; (ii) the existence of asynchronies in the timing of occurrence of ice masses expansion and shrinkage; (iii) the time lags between oceanic and atmospheric changes, on one hand, and changes in precipitation and temperature patterns, on the other; (iv) the way in which climate changes disseminate through Europe and, consequently, the lag between climate changes and the expansion or contraction of glaciers; (v) the role of the large continental ice-sheets on the European climate, and particularly on the response of mountain glaciers, with special reference to the Mediterranean mountains. All these contributions are included in this book, in which the reader will find a complete review organized according to the main climatic periods of the so-called Termination 1 the important Late Pleistocene-Holocene transition.
2. The distribution of glacial landscapes in Europe
3. The European glacial landforms of the Last glacial Cycle previous to Last Glacial Maximum
4. The European glacial landforms from the Last Glacial Maximum
5. The European glacial landforms from the Oldest Dryas
6. The European glacial landforms of Bolling-Allerod Interstadial
7. The European glacial landforms of Younger Dryas
8. The Climatic and ocean dynamics during maximum expansions and Last Termination in Europe
9. Conclusions: Certainties and pending questions about the origin of glacial landforms in Europe
David Palacios is a Full Professor of Physical Geography at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. He has been the coordinator for Spanish National Projects since 1998 to the present, and Spanish coordinator of two European Projects. He has served as founder and director of the High Mountain Physical Geography excellence research group for 12 years, and has authored over 200 international research papers, 100 chapters, and has edited five books.
Philip Hughes is a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He obtained his first degree in geography at the University of Exeter graduating in 1999. This was followed by a Masters in Quaternary Science, then a PhD in Geography (2004), both at the University of Cambridge (Darwin College). His PhD was on the glacial history of the Pindus Mountains, Greece. This was then followed by a postdoctoral research project examining the glacial history of Montenegro at the University of Manchester (2004-2006). He has since worked on glaciation across the Mediterranean mountains in Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Spain and with recent research activities focusing on the Atlas Mountains, Morocco. His research has utilised U-series dating and cosmogenic nuclides to date moraines in a variety of different lithologies, from limestones to basalts. In addition to studies of Mediterranean mountain glaciations, he has also published on global glaciations and stratigraphy in Quaternary science. In addition to several edited scientific volumes on glaciation, in 2016 he published the textbook The Ice Age with co-authors Jürgen Ehlers and Philip Gibbard. In 2011 Philip also edited with these co-authors the highly successful Elsevier volume Quaternary Glaciation: Extent and Chronology – A Closer Look.
Jose M. García-Ruiz is Ad Honorem Research Professor of the National Research Council of Spain (CSIC) at the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology. He was the Head of the University College of La Rioja (1982-1984), the head of the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (1988-1990) and President of the Spanish Society of Geomorphology (1994-1996). His main focuses of interest have been related with the interactions between land use changes and their consequences on soil erosion, connectivity between hillslopes and fluvial channels, and fluvial dynamics. The evolution of mountain landscapes since mid-Holocene has been also a main focus of research, in relation with deforestation caused by paleolithic shepherds and Middle Ages transhumant herds, including the recent afforestation caused by land abandonment and the decline of transhumance systems. In parallel, he has published a high number of studies on glacial evolution in northern Iberian Peninsula, particularly in the Pyrenees.
Nuria de Andrés is Professor of Physical Geography at the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). Her PhD was on the application of GIS to the study of hazards in tropical high volcanoes (Mexico and Peru). She has participated in 22 research projects funded in public calls and she is currently leading a research project on the reconstruction of neoglacial oscillations in Iceland. She has published nearly a hundred research papers on the dynamics of deglaciation in mountains and its impact on geodiversity. Her research work focuses on the study of glacier and periglacial geomorphology in mountain areas through the application of different dating techniques and GIS. In addition to the Iberian mountains, she has conducted research in other mountain regions (northern Iceland, Western United States, Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, Peruvian Andes), which has given her a broad understanding of land surface processes in cold climate environments. She heads the High Mountain Physical Geography excellence research group.