Holocene glacial rebound and sea‐level change in NW Europe

Kurt Lambeck, Paul Johnston, Masao Nakada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)


Observations of Late Pleistocene and Holocene sea‐level change relative to the crust exhibit very considerable variations across NW Europe in consequence of the response of the Earth's crust to the deglaciation of Fennoscandia and of the water added to the oceans from the melting of all Late Pleistocene ice sheets. Inversion of sea‐level observations from a site near the centre of the Fennoscandian ice sheet and from three sites located beyond the margin of the ice sheet at the time of maximum glaciation yield a range of plausible models for the Earth's response and for the ice models. Further constraints on this range of models is placed by a comparison of observed sea‐levels with predicted values at other sites near the former ice sheet margins. The resulting mantle parameters are: upper mantle viscosity (3–5) x 1020 Pa s; lower mantle viscosity (2–7) x 1021 Pa s; lithospheric thickness 100–150 km. These values represent effective parameters that describe the response of the Earth to surface loading of short to intermediate wavelengths on a time‐scale of 104 yr. The lower mantle viscosity is poorly constrained but the marked increase from upper to lower mantle is a characteristic of all plausible solutions. The inversion places a constraint on the total volume of ice in the Fennoscandian ice sheet such that the equivalent sea‐level rise from this contribution is about 13–14 m. A less well‐determined constraint of about 10 m equivalent sea‐level rise is suggested for the Barents–Kara ice sheet. The inversion also indicates that a small amount of melt‐water, from ice sheets far away from Europe, continued to be added into the oceans during Late Holocene time so as to raise the equivalent sea‐level by about 3 m during the past 6000 yr, consistent with similar inversions of data from sites in the Australian and Pacific regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-468
Number of pages18
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Holocene glacial rebound and sea‐level change in NW Europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this