The most useful and objective classification for alpine glacial deposits, as well as for many other Quaternary deposits, appears to be one based on parameters which vary with age as a result of postdepositional modifications. In areas and units for which radiometrically datable materials are rare, age information is gained primarily from these postdepositional modifications by what are here called relative-dating (RD) methods. In order for alpine glacial deposits to be subdivided and formally named, sufficient field data for consistent recognition and mapping need to be collected. These data include measurements of age-dependent parameters such as soil properties, rock-weathering characteristics, and landform changes. Subdivision and naming of glacial deposits should be no more detailed than the resolution of the RD methods, which generally decreases with time. Only when deposits have been objectively characterized by these relative-dating methods can correlations with deposits in other areas or with other types of records be substantiated.

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