Palaeoglaciation of Parque Natural Lago de Sanabria, northwest Spain

T. Cowton, P.d. Hughes, P.l. Gibbard

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72 Citations (Scopus)


Detailed geomorphological mapping provides evidence for at least three phases of glaciation in the Parque Natural Lago de Sanabria, in northwest Spain. The most extensive glaciation was characterised by a large plateau ice cap. A combination of geomorphological evidence and glacier modelling indicates that this ice cap covered an area of more than 440 km2, with a maximum ice thickness of c. 300 m and outlet glaciers reaching as low as 1000 m. This represents the largest ice mass in Iberia outside the Pyrenees and one of the largest in the mountains of southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Radiocarbon dates from the base of lacustrine sequences appear to suggest that the most extensive phase of ice-cap glaciation occurred during the last cold stage (Weichselian) with deglaciation occurring before 14?15 ka 14C BP. A second phase of glaciation is recorded by the moraines of valley glaciers, which may have drained small plateau ice caps; whilst a final phase of glaciation is recorded by moraines in the highest cirques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-291
Number of pages10
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Glaciation
  • Iberia
  • Pleistocene
  • Ice cap
  • Mediterranean


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