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by Archaeology Newsroom

Gracial and Periglacial Phenomena and Sea-Level Changes During the Quaternary

The Quaternary, the most recent and short geologic period in the Earth’s 4.5 billion years long history, is characterized by the appearance of Man and the large glaciers. Hence sedimentation is directly related to cold climatic conditions and to rapid changes in sea-level. These in turn are related to alternations of short climatic cycles (cold-warm, glacial and interglacial stages).

The theory of glaciers was first developed in the Alps, where four major glacial stages (Gunz, Mindel, Riss. Wurrn) were discribed. In Greece, traces of glaciers have been identified, among others, in Olympus, Pieria and Athamania mountains.

Glacier accumulation and glacial processes are directly related with the volume of the ocean water and consequently with variations in sea-level. However, fluctuations of eustatic sea-level do not depend only on climatic changes, but also on the isostatic and tectonic processes active in each region. In Greece, traces of Pleistocene marine deposition or erosion have been identified in many sites along the external Aegean Arc (Ionian Islands, W. Peloponnese, Crete, Dodecanese)- During Holocene there was an intense tectonic activity in the Eastern Mediterranean. In Greece this tectonic activity was evident, either as uplift like in NW Euboea, or as subsidence, as in Argolid.