Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Holocene Epoch

  • Neil Roberts
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_172-2

The Holocene, or “wholly recent,” Epoch is the youngest phase of earth history. It began when the last glaciation ended, and for this reason is sometimes also known as the post-glacial period. In reality, however, the Holocene is one of many interglacials which have punctuated the late Cainozoic Ice Age. The term was introduced by Gervais in 1869 and was accepted as part of valid geological nomenclature by the International Geological Congress in 1885. The International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) has a commission devoted to the study of the Holocene, and several International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP) projects have been based around environmental changes during the Holocene. A technical guide produced by IGCP Subproject 158B (“Palaeohydrological Changes in the Temperate Zone”) represents a comprehensive account of Holocene research methods (Berglund 1986). Since 1991, there has also existed a journal dedicated exclusively to Holocene research (The Holocene...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Atkinson TC, Briffa KR, Coope GR (1987) Seasonal temperatures in Britain during the past 22,000 years reconstructed using beetle remains. Nature 325:587–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bell M, Walker MJC (1992) Late quaternary environmental change: physical and human perspectives. Longman/Wiley, London/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Berglund B (ed) (1986) Handbook of Holocene palaeoecology and palaeohydrology. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Roberts N (1998) The Holocene. An environmental history. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Street-Perrott FA, Roberts N (1993) Past climates and future greenhouse warming. In: Roberts N (ed) The changing global environment. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Watson RA, Wright HE Jr (1980) The end of the Pleistocene: a general critique of chronostratigraphic classification. Boreas 9:153–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Wright HE, Kutzbach JE, Webb T, Ruddiman WF, Street-Perrott FA, Bartlein PJ (eds) (1993) Global climates for 9000 and 6000 years ago. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GeographyUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK