Quaternary geology


Earth and environmental sciences (2nd level)

Paleobiology and sedimentary geology (2nd Cycle)

Course code: MIP02
Year of study: none

Course principal:
Assoc. Prof. Aleksander Horvat, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 30 hours, seminar 30 hours, tutorial 10 hours, field work 10 hours, individual work 70 hours.
Course type: elective
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, laboratory work, field work, individual elaboration of a selected research question and its presentation as a seminar.


Course syllabus (download)


First-cycle Bologna degree or a university degree in the natural sciences.


Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Definition of Quaternary: stratigraphic and climatic basics
  • Quaternary climatic changes: causes, consequences, climatic proxies, palaeoclimatology
  • Quaternary climatic change impact on biosphere
  • Quaternary Stratigraphy: methods and analytical tools, isotope stratigraphy, climatochronology, correlation of marine and terrestrial sedimentary record, Alpine stratigraphy
  • Quaternary sedimentary environments: main facies, rock types and sedimentary environments
  • Geomorphology of Quaternary induced landscapes
  • Holocene climatic and environmental changes
  • Anthropocene: case for and against a new epoch, anthropogenic environmental and climatic impact, nature of anthropogenic deposits and landscape modification



Selected chapters:

  • Bradley, R. S. (1992): Quaternary paleoclimatology. Chapman & Hall, 4-45, 125-190, 285-336, 357-438, 471-506. .
  • Brodwikowsky, K. & van Loon, A. J. (1991): Glacigenic sediments. Developments in sedimentology 49, 19-131. .
  • Elias, S. & Mock, C. J. (eds) (2011): Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. Elsevier – posamezna gesla. .
  • Lowe, J.J. & Walker, M. J. C. (1997): Reconstructing Quaternary environments. Prentice Hall, 2nd edition, 1-161, 237-371.
  • Williams, M. (2003): Quaternary environments. Arnold, 2nd edition, 1-266.
  • Waters, C. N., Zalasiewicz, J. A., Williams, M. Ellis, M. & Snelling, A. M. (eds) (2014): A Stratigraphical Basis for the Anthropocene. – Geol. Soc. London, Spec. Publ. 1-54, 55-142, 211-300.


Objectives and competences:

The course deals with climate change in the last two million years of Earth history based on research of various continental and marine sediments and ice, their causes, periodicity, and anthropogenic impact on climate change. The purpose of the course is to understand the temporal and spatial Quaternary environmental changes in relation to climate change in the composition of flora and fauna, the emergence of hominins, their culture and human impact on the natural environment. The content of the course allows students to recognize, and describe Quaternary sediments in chronological and climatic sense. Students will learn how to recognize and understand anthropogenic impact on natural environment.


Intended learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding:

The student knows the basic aspects of climate change and their interaction on natural environment. He can recognize and interpret glacigenic sediments and Quaternary landscape geomorphology. He knows adequate tools and proxies for age and climatic determination of Quaternary sediments.



Written or oral exam (70 %), written paper (30 %).