Middle Pleistocene to Holocene Apennine glaciations (Italy)

Carlo Giraudi

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge of the Apennine glaciations may be summarized as follows: it is certain that in the Apennines there are traces of at least one glacial expansion older and more extensive than that of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Its age is not known in detail, but it is highly likely that it dates from the final part of the Middle Pleistocene. An additional earlier glacial phase might also be represented. The Late Pleistocene glaciation has left few traces relating to Marine Isotope Stage 4, but abundant sediments and features relating to the LGM and to its recessional phases are found. Radiometric dating of these glacial oscillations is still rather scanty. In the last few years tephra layers and some eolian deposits have been found which, being isochronous, make it possible to obtain a chronological setting and a precise correlation even between the moraines situated at latitudes and elevations very different from one another. The Late Pleistocene LGM glaciers started to expand earlier than 22,680±630 14C years BP (Campo Imperatore Stadial), and began to retreat slowly around 21,500 14C years BP, and then more rapidly until about 17,00014C years BP. After 17,000 years BP there was a readvance. This Fontari Stadial was followed by recessional phases lasting until after 11,760 ±16014C years BP. Another readvance followed, the Mount Aquila Stadial, which may be correlated with the Younger Dryas. The recessional phases of this stadial are probably represented by the earliest Holocene moraines: later the glaciers melted. They reformed in the second half of the Holocene (Calderone Stadial) after 3890±6014C years BP, and re-expanded after ca. 2650±60, 1450±40, 670±40 14C years BP and reached their maximum length during the Little Ice Age. The Calderone Glacier, the only one that now exists in the Apennines, has strongly melted back in the 20th century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37 - 48
Number of pages12
JournalAlpine and Mediterranean Quaternary
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology

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