The Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland: A review of Late Weichselian glaciation

Ben Boyes, Lorna Linch, Danni Pearce, Vasili Kolka, David Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland (Murmansk Oblast, northwest Arctic Russia) represents a major sector of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS) where empirical geomorphological, sedimentological, and chronological data are lacking and thus, where the pattern, style, and timing of glaciation is not well established. In this study, we present a critical review of published empirical data and interpretations of Late Weichselian (c. 40–10 ka) glaciation for the region. The review includes, for the first time, information published in Russian-language journal articles (n = 37), and is accompanied by a new Geographic Information System (GIS) numerical age database (spanning 472.3–6.2 ka) that collates known published numerical dates associated with the advance and retreat of the FIS in the study area. Our review suggests that an ice mass existed over the Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland during the Early-Middle Weichselian (c. 115–40 ka), and likely retreated during the Ålesund interstadial (c. 38–34 ka). During the Late Weichselian, it is likely that the FIS advanced eastwards across Russian Lapland and the Kola Peninsula, establishing the White Sea Ice Stream before the local-Last Glacial Maximum (c. 19–15 ka). Through an evaluation of the existing Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (c. 20–10 ka) glaciation models for the region, we propose that the Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland was deglaciated by the FIS, rather than the Ponoy Ice Cap or the Kara Sea Ice Sheet. In collating, discussing, and critically evaluating empirical data and interpretations, this paper provides a valuable resource to inform FIS dynamics at both a regional- and ice sheet-scale, and offers a framework through which numerical ice sheet models can be constrained. Precise FIS dynamics on the Kola Peninsula and Russian Lapland, including the position of the Younger Dryas ice marginal zone, remain unclear due to low-resolution geomorphological data. In concluding, we recommend that further work is needed in the form of a revised glacial reconstruction using high-resolution, peninsula-wide geomorphological data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107087
Number of pages26
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Andrey Vashkov (Geological Institute of Kola Science Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences) is gratefully acknowledged for providing access to the literature published in Russian-language journals. Special thanks are given to our co-author Professor Vasili V. Kolka who sadly passed away in April 2020. Anna Hughes, Richard Gyllencreutz, and a third anonymous reviewer are gratefully acknowledged for their constructive reviews. This work was undertaken while BMB was in receipt of a University of Brighton PhD Studentship.


  • Glacier reconstruction
  • Geomorphology
  • Kola Peninsula
  • Russian Lapland
  • Late Weichselian
  • Fennoscandian Ice Sheet
  • Russia


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