Glaciated province: uplands and lowlands

Quaternary provinces showing glaciation limits

The landmass of Great Britain can be divided into two distinct provinces, based on the landscape evolution during the Quaternary. The two provinces are the non-glaciated province, lying south of the known limit of the Anglian glaciation in England, and the glaciated province to the north of this limit.

Glaciated province (including both upland and lowland Britain) has few elements that have survived intact from the Neogene. Indeed, much of the Quaternary record has also been destroyed or fundamentally modified by subaerial erosion and successive Quaternary glaciations (at least 21 full glaciations (van Donk, 1976)). The glaciated province warrants a further subdivision at the Devensian glacial limit. North of the Devensian limit, the deposits and landforms commonly display a distinctive 'fresh' morphology, an important physical characteristic that aids mapping by remote sensing methods. This sub-province includes relatively little-weathered deposits of the 'Newer Drift' of earlier classifications, which equates with the Caledonia Glacigenic Group (McMillan, 2005). In contrast, glacial deposits and landforms lying between the Devensian ice limit and the Anglian ice limit fall within the Albion Glaciogenic Group (McMillan, 2005), which includes the 'Older Drift' of previous classifications. Ground in this sub-province has been subject to denudation and weathering over numerous Middle Pleistocene cold/temperate climatic cycles. The landscape is generally subdued, and the glaciogenic and related deposits tend to be well-dissected and, in places, concealed beneath periglacial deposits, including wind blown sand and silt.

Glaciated province: uplands

Glaciated province: lowlands


McMillan, A A.  2005.  A provisional Quaternary and Neogene lithostratigraphical framework for Great Britain.  Netherlands Journal of Geosciences – Geologie en Miijnbouw.   84–2, pp 87–107.

Van Donk, J.  1976. An 18O record of the Atlantic Ocean for the entire Pleistocene.  Geolological Society of America Memoir 154, 147–64.


For further information please contact Marieta Garcia-Bajo