Holocene glacial landscapes of the Balkans

Book chapter


Hughes, P. D., Allard, J., Woodward, J. and Pope, R. 2023. Holocene glacial landscapes of the Balkans . in: Palacios, D., Hughes, P. D., Jomelli, V. and Tanarro, L.M. (ed.) European Glacial Landscapes: The Holocene Amsterdam, Netherlands Elseiver. pp. 493-509
AuthorsHughes, P. D., Allard, J., Woodward, J. and Pope, R.
EditorsPalacios, D., Hughes, P. D., Jomelli, V. and Tanarro, L.M.
Abstract

The western Balkans are dominated by mountains that rise immediately from the coast extending from the Dinaric Alps in the north to the Pindus Mountains in the south. Peaks up to 2500 to 3000 m high are present across the region in Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Greece. The mountains form the Dinaric-Hellenic orogenic belt, flank the Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean Seas, and are c.100 to 200 km wide reaching eastwards into Kosovo and North Macedonia. The Dinaric-Hellenic belt is largely formed in Mesozoic limestones and makes up some of the largest karstic areas in Europe. Other widespread rocks include Palaeogene flysch deposited in foreland basins as the seafloor became uplifted and Jurassic ophiolites typical of plate margin sub-duction zones. The highest mountains of North Macedonia and Bulgaria are formed in much older rocks than those of the Dinaric-Hellenic belt and include Palaeozoic and Precambrian granites and metamorphic rocks such as marble and gneiss. Today, the entire Balkan region is tectonically-active, especially in the west and south and most notably in Greece. In the Gulf of Corinth, for example, uplift is estimated at 2.9- and 3.5-mm year, which represents some of the highest uplift rates in Europe. East of the Dinaric-Hellenic belt tectonic activity is less intense, and seismicity less frequent, although some of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in Europe have occurred on the North Macedonia/Bulgaria border. Tectonic effects, such
as seismicity and the production of unstable faulted escarpments, are the important factors in the evolution of modern niche glaciers in the Balkans because it sustains high elevations and makes the mountains prone to regular rock avalanches. The large amounts of debris supplied result in moraines that are far larger than would be expected from such small glaciers. Furthermore, the fact that the modern glaciers of the Balkans are sometimes heavily debris-laden also affects glacier mass balance, with thick debris cover inhibiting melting.

KeywordsThe western Balkans; glacier mass balance; Dinaric-Hellenic belt
Page range493-509
Year2023
Book titleEuropean Glacial Landscapes: The Holocene
PublisherElseiver
Place of publicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
ISBN9780323997126
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-99712-6.00011-8
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-99712-6.00011-8
File
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Nov 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Dec 2023
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