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

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

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


Most glaciers of Europe were in full retreat at 18.9 ka. By the time the Holocene began, most of the glaciers had disappeared and, therefore, sea level had risen by about 80 m. However, this retreat was not continuous, but was interrupted by abrupt climate changes, with intense cooling, mainly at 16.2 ka and 12.9 ka, when most of the European glaciers advanced. Warming phases were not constant either, but came with even more abrupt changes, such as the rapid rise in temperatures from 14.6 ka onwards, when glaciers retreated sharply and largely disappeared. Recent research on European glaciated landscapes synthesised in this book provides many of the clues to the complexity of this evolution. Most of the climatic and oceanic parameters involved in these major changes that shaped the landscapes are known, but the mechanisms that caused them remain poorly understood. There are still many challenges for science to overcome in the future. Improved knowledge of these landscapes must lead to an appreciation of their geodiversity, in order to preserve and value them appropriately.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Glacial Landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationThe Last Deglaciation
EditorsD. Palacios, P. Hughes, J.M. García-Ruiz, N. Andrés
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherElsevier BV
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780323918992
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • Heinrich Stadial 1
  • Bølling–Allerød
  • Younger Dryas
  • Holocene
  • glacial evolution
  • geodiversity
  • geoheritage


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