The glacial legacy of the EISC during the Younger Dryas Stadial

Anna L.C. Hughes, S. L. Greenwood, Monica C.M. Winsborrow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The European Ice Sheet Complex (EISC) had already separated into independent ice masses of varying size before the start of the Younger Dryas (YD) Stadial (12.9–11.7ka), ceasing to exist as an integrated complex. Only Fennoscandia sustained an ice sheet at this point with much of the rest of the EISC domain deglaciated and experiencing post-glacial conditions and processes. Nonetheless, the abrupt cooling and changes in precipitation patterns of the Younger Dryas resulted in an expansion and/or regrowth of ice at sites across the EISC domain; albeit of varied amplitude and expression reflecting the initial glacial conditions at the end of the preceding Bølling–Allerød and modulated by local–regional variations in climate and topography. Here we introduce and synthesise information from Chapters 46–51 that describe in detail the regional variations in landforms and landscapes produced during the YD. For regions where the YD marks the final advance of ice, glacial landforms of the YD are some of the best preserved elements of the landscape, allowing for a detailed reconstruction of past ice limits. Where Holocene expansion of ice has been substantial, such as on Svalbard and the archipelagos surrounding the Barents Sea, the record is more equivocal. Beyond the ice limits, proglacial and ice-dammed lakes were prominent elements of the YD landscape and we examine their contributions to constraining past ice limits and deglaciation. For all regions, greater temporal control (i.e., both more dates and greater dating precision) is required to establish synchronicity of glacial extent and explore leads and lags in the response to the abrupt and relatively short-lived cooling of the YD.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Glacial Landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationThe Last Deglaciation
EditorsDavid Palacios, Philip D. Hughes, José M. García-Ruiz, Nuria Andrés
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherElsevier BV
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780323918992
ISBN (Print)9780323985116
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2022


  • Fennoscandian Ice Sheet
  • ice-dammed lakes
  • Loch Lomond Stadial
  • Svalbard
  • Younger Dryas


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