Geology science seminar with Sven Lukas: The role of modern analogues and process-research in interpreting glacial-geological signatures – a somewhat personal reflection
The actualistic or uniformitarian principle (“The present is the key to the past”; Lyell, 1853) is a central tenet of all geological research. Interestingly, it was somewhat slow on the take-up in Quaternary – especially glacial – research, for reasons that will be explored. As a result, glacial research has not benefitted as much from modern analogue work as other geological disciplines have.
I will show a few examples (Svalbard, Norway, the European and Southern Alps) to illustrate how powerful process observations combined with physical principles are when consistently applied to areas last glaciated during the Pleistocene – including a few fun lessons that can be learned when research has been informed more by paradigms than physical evidence.