The European glacial landscapes from the main deglaciation

Jose Maria García Ruiz, Philip Hughes, David Palacios, Nuria Andrés

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation immediately after the Last Glacial Maximum (29–19 ka in this book) led to the onset of deglaciation of the European Ice Sheet Complex (EISC) and mountain glaciers. However, the period between 18.9 and 14.6 ka was extremely complex from a climatic and geomorphological point of view, with frequent changes in temperature and precipitation causing retreats, advances and standstills in the ice fronts. The EISC deposited large moraines in Central Europe and northern Russia and began to collapse by separating into several smaller ice sheets (the Fennoscandia, British–Irish and the Barents Sea Ice Sheets). The large Baltic Lake appeared when the front of the EISC retreated up to southern Sweden, where a large number of minor and major moraines were deposited, leaving troughs, sandar, lakes, alluvial fans, eskers, drumlins, hummocky moraine accumulations separated by mighty braided rivers. In parallel, the mountain glaciers initially retreated sharply, followed by a readvance from 17.5 ka, coinciding with the onset of the Oldest Dryas/Heinrich Stadial 1. Later, the glaciers retreated again, although with small readvances that left numerous frontal moraines until a general retreat occurred just before the transition to the Bølling/Allerød interstadial. Rock avalanches and landslides contributed to the development of rock glaciers and debris covered glaciers, and braided rivers transferred the large volumes of sediment downstream. The period between 18.9 and 14.6 ka ushered in the great landscape transformation in Europe, continuing until most of the glaciers disappeared in the early Holocene.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Glacial Landscapes: The Last Deglaciation
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherElsevier BV
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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