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Glacial geology

Field work in Siberia. Photo: Per Möller
Field work in Siberia.

The Scandinavian landscape is to a large extent the result of repeated glaciations during the Quaternary period. The Quaternary sediment cover is thus the foundation on and into which we build our infrastructure, from which most of our groundwater is extracted, and that forms the substrate for agriculture and more or less natural ecosystems. It is thus vital for society to build knowledge of glaciated landscape structure, distribution and formation. Our research focuses on glacial and periglacial sediments and landforms, and reconstruction and understanding of the processes that formed them. Based on stratigraphic and chronological work we also reconstruct glacial history on a range of spatial and temporal scales: from ice sheets to ice caps, and from the present back to the last deglaciation, including the two last glacial-interglacial cycles. This work is highly dependent on precise and accurate dating methods using radiocarbon (14C), optically stimulated luminescence and cosmogenic exposure dating. Glacial geology is a classical core area of Quaternary sciences, the research in Lund judged to be outstanding in the RQ08 assessment. For the coming period our research will centre on four major topics; 1) South Scandinavian stratigraphy, 2) aeolian activity in Scandinavia during the last deglaciation, 3) glacial processes at present Icelandic ice caps, and 4) Arctic glacial history. Southern Scandinavia has stratigraphic records that can address the presently debated glacial history prior to the last glacial maximum; these studies will be linked to the Swedish Scientific Drilling Programme. The study of aeolian deposits is a new research avenue that exploits the underused aeolian records as a palaeoenvironmental archive, particularly for the latest glacial and early Holocene. Our research on Iceland focusses on understanding of present glacial processes. Our Arctic research, which has a long tradition at the Department, will be continued on Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard and Siberia and aims to reconstruct past ice-sheet dynamics and chronology.

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Latest articles

A Younger Dryas re-advance of local glaciers in north Greenland. Larsen et al., Quaternary Science Reviews (in press 2015)

A short-lived aeolian event during the Early Holocene in southeastern Norway. Alexanderson & Henriksen, Quaternary Geochronology. 2015.

The importance of thermal boundary transitions on glacial geomorphology; mapping of ribbed/hummocky moraine and streamlined terrain from LiDAR, over Småland, South Sweden. Möller & Dowling, GFF. (in press 2015)

Morphometry and core type of streamlined bedforms in southern Sweden from high resolution LiDAR. Dowling et al., Geomorphology 236. 2015

The Taimyr Peninsula and the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, Arctic Russia: a synthesis of glacial history and palaeo-environmental change during the Last Glacial cycle (MIS 5e–2). Möller et al., Quaternary Science Reviews 107. 2015

Holocene Chronology of the Brattforsheden Delta and Inland Dune Field, Sw Sweden. Alexanderson & Fabel, Geochronometria 42. 2015

Drumlinised glaciofluvial and glaciolacustrine sediments on the Småland peneplain, South Sweden – new evidence on the growth and decay history of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheets during MIS 3. Möller & Murray, Quaternary Science Reviews 122. 2015