The Italian mountains: glacial landforms from the Last Glacial Maximum

Adriano Ribolini, Matteo Spagnolo, Carlo Giraudi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) event has left evident traces in the mountains of the Italian peninsula, and well-preserved moraines are described in all sectors of the Apennines. Radiocarbon ages, stratigraphic markers, and exposure ages of moraine boulders have provided a coherent chronology.

In the Northern Apennines, numerous moraines have been described mainly on the northern flanks of the chain. The cosmogenic ages of some of them dated the LGM to prior than about 20 ka. The existence of glaciers in this period is locally confirmed by the slowdown/interruption of speleothems growth. The Central Apennines show several landforms related to the LGM, which here has been radiocarbon dated at 27.140±840 cal BP years (Campo Imperatore glacier). A tephra layer in the Southern Apennines (Matese Massif) postdates a moraine to the LGM, confirming that this cold period also affected the southern part of the peninsula.

Where chronological data were not available, comparisons of ELAs across mountain sectors were used. Unlike in the past, these correlations are now anchored to some dated moraines. The ELAs of LGM glaciers reconstructed throughout the peninsula show an evident variability with minimum values reached on the Northern Apennines (about 1200 m, Apuan Alps), and maximum values (about 1800 m, M. Pollino Massif) in the Southern Apennines. An increase in ELAs is evident as a function of decreasing latitude. However, humid air masses of southwestern provenience may have impacted ELAs by causing also a secondary SW–NE increase.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Glacial Landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationMaximum Extent of Glaciations
EditorsDavid Palacios, Philip D. Hughes , José M. García Ruiz, Nuria Andrés
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780128234983
ISBN (Print)9780128236079
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Last Glacial Maximum
  • exposure ages
  • radiocarborn ages
  • ELA
  • Apennines


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