North Sea Palaeolandscapes Conference 2019 | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

North Sea Palaeolandscapes Conference 2019

The three-day conference 'North Sea Palaeolandscapes Conference 2019' brings together scientists working on Middle-Pleistocene to Late-Holocene geological processes and landscape development from the North Sea to the Celtic Margin. You will get an interdisciplinary reconstruction of a changing environment in the region during the past 500 000 years. The conference takes place from November 18 to 20, 2019 at Media Plaza in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The organization is in the hands of the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (TNO), the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), the Renard Center for Marine Geology of Ghent University, the University of Bradford, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research ( NIOZ) and Utrecht University. More information about the program, how to participate and register on the conference website.

Quaternary geological maps of the North Sea, English Channel and Celtic Sea summarize decades of intense marine surveying, laboratory work and drawing, and provide the context for research on topics ranging from ice-sheet configuration in the North Sea basin to terrigenous fluxes at the Celtic Margin. These data have been able to answer some fundamental questions about the impact of growing and shrinking ice sheets on continental-scale drainage systems, the role of climate change in triggering extreme events, the defining influence of paleolandscapes on human migration and well-being, and commonalities between continental sedimentary and marine isotope records. Still, many challenges remain and important follow-up questions have arisen that can only be answered with new information and knowledge.

Various interdisciplinary groups are currently intensifying their research on the shallow subsurface of the North Sea, English Channel and southern Celtic Sea, triggered in part by the availability of new seismic surveys and boreholes made to support large-scale offshore windfarm development. Aligning this work and planning joint expeditions is crucial to unravel a unique record of glacial and interglacial sediments and landforms on a scale covering entire drainage systems, marine basins, and past landscapes home to Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic Man. It will help identify causes and effects of rapid environmental change, and shed light on the way early humans used the available natural resources.

The conference in Utrecht aims at exchanging and connecting knowledge on Middle-Pleistocene to Late-Holocene geological processes and landscape development from the North Sea to the Celtic Margin, searching for direct and indirect indicators of human presence and colonization of presently submerged landscapes, exploring opportunities to profit from vast volumes of new subsurface data collected in support of the energy transition, and discussing potential topics and possible funding mechanisms for research linking late-Quaternary subsurface records from north to south.

The organizers – the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (TNO), Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Renard Centre of Marine Geology of Ghent University –  intend to facilitate networking through an interactive program that includes keynotes, flash presentations, dedicated poster walks, and participatory discussion sessions.

More information on the conference themes, how to participate to plenary and posters sessions, and how to register, can be read on the conference website.