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Glacial geology

Field work in Siberia. Photo: Per Möller
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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