Periglacial sediments: do they exist?
‘Periglacial deposits’ have often been reported in the Quaternary geological literature. Sometimes their identity has been confused with the periglacial processes, landforms and environments with which these deposits are linked. However, the question arises: what are the diagnostic characteristics of such ‘periglacial’ deposits? A number of examples illustrate that ‘periglacial deposition’ follows the general geomorphological and sedimentological laws, although it may be influenced by specific conditions of vegetation and sediment availability. These may be completely or partly dependent on periglacial climatic conditions. Some marginal conditions are specific to cold environments, for instance the scarcity of vegetation that has a clear effect on transport and deposition of aeolian sediments. In addition, the intensity of some processes is governed by climate-derived conditions, for instance in the case of fluvial and slope processes. In this sense, the answer to the question in the title is negative. ‘Periglacial deposits’ do not correspond to any particular sedimentary process. This conclusion is, however, only valid when post-depositional weathering and deformations at micro- and macro-scale are excluded.