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Geoscientist Online

Quaternary Glaciation in the Mediterranean Mountains

szfdhThis special publication by the Geological Society of London presents 14 original research papers in the field of Quaternary Glaciation in the Mediterranean Mountains. The key objective was to bring together the latest work from the leading specialists and to set out the wider significance of their findings. It certainly streamlines the past and present research knowledge and research techniques of this field, and also assesses the prospects for new studies and outstanding research problems in Quaternary Glaciation in the Mediterranean Mountains.

It is a fascinating read, covering such rich and significant archive of the majestic mountain landscape that surrounds the Mediterranean Sea. The collection of 14 papers has something for everyone and provides an excellent starting point for anyone interested in Quaternary Glaciation.

It covers well the background and history of this field of research, not only the science but the human element, those involved and their backgrounds, making it at vivid and engaging read. It is well ordered with a logical structure moving clockwise from North Africa around the Mediterranean, it is enriched with high quality maps, diagrams, data-tables and schematic diagrams. Each paper complements the others and provides readers with the opportunity to recognise the different methods that are used in studying past glacial environments. It shows the importance of working together to develop our understanding of the world around us. Interestingly it has highlighted how the timings of glaciation in the Mediterranean mountains influenced patterns of Palaeolithic settlement.

Of particular interest to me (and the focus of the author of the foreword Bruno Messerli’s dissertation 50 years previously) was the Sierra Nevada of Andalucia. With my mother recently moving to Spain, I was relishing the prospect of this book taking me on a journey through the glaciers Spain as well as the whole of the Mediterranean, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The writing is aimed at graduate and postgraduate level, but assumes little prerequisite technical knowledge. The techniques used are explained well and the methodologies of dating and state of current research clearly graded. For each of the geographical regions the earliest known publication, the dating methods applied and the current state of research are summarised, allowing the reader to gain an overview - as well as to easily locate a specific research method or region.

It is a timely publication, with the status of glaciers rapidly changing year-on-year, and acts as a great stimulus, as was hoped, for future questions of the majestic mountain landscape of the Mediterranean Sea.

Reviewed by Fiona Connor

QUATERNARY GLACIATION IN THE MEDITERRANEAN MOUNTAINS edited by P.D.HUGHES & J.C.WOODWARD, 2017. Published by: Geological Society of London, Special Publications, 433. ISBN 978-1-86239-747-7 List price: £100.00.  Fellows’ Price: £50.00. W: www.geolsoc.org.uk/sp433