International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA)

INQUA, the International Union for Quaternary Research, was founded in 1928 by a group of scientists seeking to improve understanding of environmental change during the glacial ages through interdisciplinary research. Today, more than 35 member countries, spread throughout the world, contribute to INQUA's vitality. For a summary of INQUA's recent activities download the 2015 annual report.

INQUA's basic goal -- promoting improved communication and international collaboration in basic and applied aspects of Quaternary research -- is achieved mainly through the activities of its commissions and committees:


Inter-commission activities are encouraged, as are research projects in regions where the Quaternary record is poorly known. The bulk of commission and committee work is carried on through scientific research projects in which international teams of spe-cialists attack a wide array of problems. Current INQUA commission/committee projects can be viewed by clicking here

Photo of team of scientists

INQUA's financial support for Commission/Committee activities is used to help generate additional support from national and international funding agencies, to organize international work-shops and conferences, and to aid the participation of young scientists, especially those from developing countries. In addition to its own research activities, INQUA actively collaborates with other organizations and programs, including the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) of which it is a full member, the Past Global Changes (PAGES) program of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), and the International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP).

The image on the left shows an international team of scientists with expertise in stratigraphy, geochronology, isotope geochemistry, invertebrate paleontology, paleoecology, and paleomagnetism investigate sediments along the desert margin in central China to unravel the history of monsoon fluctuations during the past 15,000 years. This research falls within the fields of interest of several of the INQUA Commissions listed above.

INQUA Congresses

INQUA's quadrennial international congresses, which bring together as many as 1000 scientists from around the world, provide a focus for its many activities. Past congresses have been held in Copenhagen (1928), Leningrad (1932), Vienna (1936), Rome (1953), Madrid (1957), Warsaw (1961), Boulder (1965), Paris (1969), Christchurch (1973), Birmingham (1977), Moscow (1982), Ottawa (1987), Beijing (1991), Berlin (1995), Durban (1999), Reno (2003), Cairns (2007), Bern (2011). At each congress, commissions, committees, and working groups organize symposia that review research results from the previous inter-congress period, and plan activities for the next one.

The most recent INQUA Congress (XIX) was held in Nagoya, Japan, in July-August 2015, attracting 1,200 registered delegates. For a full outline of the scientific content see:

Contact INQUA

Enquiries regarding INQUA may be sent to the Secretary General, Brian M. Chase.