The importance of European glacial landscapes in a context of great climatic variability

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

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


The maximum extent of Pleistocene glaciations in Europe comprised the vast ice sheets of Northern Europe and the Alps to the mountain glaciers of Southern and Eastern Europe. The evidence varies in both scale and time and the glacial landscapes are hugely diverse across the continent from upland to lowlands and even beneath the sea. The nature of the glacial landscapes also varies by nature of the underlying geologies of the different regions as well as the climates past and present of the various parts of Europe from the Arctic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Over the Quaternary the glacial conditions have predominated, especially in the last 800,000 years when 100,000-year glacial cycles have dominated. The effects of glaciers on landscapes of Europe have been profound and this is recognised and valued in the geoheritage of many countries. The end of the Last Glacial Cycle saw extensive and rapid deglaciation, the focus of the next book, Volume 2, leaving the landscapes that we see today. The history and legacy of glaciations in Europe provide an important record and inform our understanding of future climate and landscape change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Glacial Landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationMaximum Extent of Glaciations
EditorsD. Palacios, P. Hughes, J.M. García-Ruiz, N. Andrés
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherElsevier BV
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9780128234983
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021


  • quaternary
  • Pleistocene
  • glaciations
  • ice sheets
  • glaciers
  • geoheritage


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