INQUA History

Published summaries and reflections of INQUA's history:

INQUA and Quaternary science at the Millennium: a personal retrospective

INQUA Congresses - 75th Anniversary review

A History of INQUA - The International Union for Quaternary Research

Ian Smalley, 2011


The International Union for Quaternary Research INQUA was nominally founded in 1928 at a geological conference in Denmark. There was some preliminary discussion leading up to this event, and the current INQUA structure and naming took some years to appear. There were three Congresses before the Second World War (Denmark, USSR, Austria); the current sequence started with the fourth Congress, in Italy in 1953; then seven more ‘post-war’ Congresses: Spain, Poland, USA, France, New Zealand, UK, USSR, then the seven ‘modern’ Congresses: Canada, China, Germany, South Africa, USA, Australia, Switzerland. Ideas and approaches have evolved over the years (and the Quaternary has lengthened from 1.8 Myr to 2.6 Myr). A European organisation became a World organisation and a complex system of Quaternary research and scholarship emerged. The conference proceedings have given way to special editions of established journals, papers are being replaced by posters, but elaborate field guides remain; and the vast amounts of postage have yielded to the advance of the e-world; and the number of participants has grown steadily. INQUA is now a well-established institution; it has worked well, and the related growth in the Quaternary sciences from 1928 to present has been impressive.


 A short history of INQUA was provided by then-Past-President Porter (2003) to introduce the Programs and Abstracts book for the 16th (Reno) Congress. He gave brief details of the 16 Congresses which defined the history of INQUA. It is initially a two part story; the first meeting was in 1928, and there were two more before the Second World War; then a hiatus, and Congresses begin again in Italy in 1953.

The early history of INQUA (up to the 6th Warsaw 1961 Congress) has been discussed in detail by Alexandrowicz (2006), an account which made good use of material from Neustadt (1969). This essay provides another, slightly oblique, look at INQUA history; it aims to expand the account of Porter, and to clarify (draw attention to) the account of Alexandrowicz. The history by Neustadt was prepared for the 8thParis 1969 Congress, and was published as part of the Congress publication set. It is not easy to find; if your library has a copy make sure it is valued and preserved. This history has been prepared for the 18th(Bern 2011) Congress and is published in a special edition of Loess Letter (LL65). 

INQUA was formed in 1928; at least this is a convenient starting point (and it was the date on the INQUA logo); there were discussions before 1928 and the organisation which was formed in 1928, although the direct precursor of INQUA, was not called INQUA. The INQUA designation arrives at the 3rd(Vienna 1936) Congress. 1928 was an interesting year: the World’s largest hailstone fell in Potter, Nebraska, and the St.Francis Dam failed, and Amelia Earhart flew the Atlantic. Aarhus University was founded, and so was the Irish Manuscripts Commission; A.E.Douglas was developing dendrochronology, and Davidson Black was working on the Peking Man excavations- Peking Man would eventually form the logo for the 13th (Beijing) Congress in 1991.

The word ‘Inqua’ was around well before 1928; the Inqua are a South African tribe, nomadic cattle farmers in the Camdeboo. The Inqua were reputed to be the richest Khoikhoi tribe in southern Africa. The Camdeboo National Park is located in the Karoo and almost completely surrounds the Eastern Cape town of Graaf-Reinet. The Inqua tribe have existed for many years but the acronymic INQUA started out in 1928 and achieved full initial status in 1936.


Start in 1922; Dr. M. Limanowski (of Poland) is talking to Dr. W. Wunsdorf (of Germany) during the 13th International Geological Congress in Brussels, Belgium. Over a coffee (beer? schnapps?) they discuss the possible formation of an International Quaternary Association. Limanowski goes on to be a key figure in the formation of just such an organisation, and Polish scholars play a large role in its foundation. During the 1920s there were various developments in northern and central Europe which had a bearing on the eventual establishment of a Quaternary association, which was European in origin but expanded to encompass the entire World.

On 24 April 1921 the Polish Geological Society was formed in Cracow. It was quickly into action and in 1922 seven members participated in the 13th International Geological Congress in Brussels. The leader of the Polish delegation, Prof. H.Arctowski, together with representatives from Czechoslovakia, Romania, and the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, proposed a motion which suggested the formation of a Carpathian Geological Association which would facilitate and encourage investigations in the members regions which had been divided by frontiers after the First World War; boundaries that came into existence after the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The proposal was accepted on 19 August 1922, the last day of the conference. Dr.M.Limanowski was one of the delegates who participated in this undertaking, and the Carpathian Association would provide a model for another enterprise in co-operation- the Quaternary association. 

The idea of studying the ‘Quaternary’ was developing and two national societies dealing with Quaternary matters were initiated, in 1924 and 1927. In 1924, the ‘Gesellschaft fur Geschiebekunde’ was formed. The main interests of this society were in erratic boulders, moraines, glacial deposits and landforms in Central Europe. The society journal was the impressively named Zeitschrift fur Geschiebefreunde und Flachland-geologie (World List 58635). In 1927 the Commission for Quaternary Research was established by the Soviet Academy of Sciences, this would also produce a grandly titled journal- Byulleten’ Komissii po Izucheniyu Chetvertichnogo Perioda (World List 12778)- which would prove to be a long-lasting and influential Quaternary publication. Opinion was gathering and the need for a ‘Quaternary Association’ was growing.`

The 1928 Congress to celebrate the founding (1888) of the Danish Geological Institute (Copenhagen 17-30 June 1928)

This then is to be defined as the founding moment for INQUA. A grand conference is held in Copenhagen to celebrate the birthday of the important Danish geological organisation. Many international figures attend and there is discussion of the possibility of forming an international Quaternary association, following the model of the Carpathian association. The discussion is fruitful and and the outlines of a Quaternary association are produced and the first Quaternary meeting is actually held. This becomes the first INQUA Congress (retrospectively). Some details should be recorded and some credit directed towards M.Limanowski who worked very hard to launch the enterprise. For background on Limanowski see Kalinowskiej & Sadurskiego (1998).

The birthday congress took place on the 17-30 June with 102 participants from 17 countries. On the 25th June the director of the Institute, Prof.Victor Madsen opened the debating and discussing sessions as chairman. Early on in the proceedings he presented the Polish initiative concerning the creation of a new international Quaternary association, suggested by Prof.J. Nowak. It was presented with great skill, brio, panache, chutzpah and elan, and in considerable detail, by Prof. M.Limanowski (Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Vilnius in Lithuania, then administered by Poland). He pointed out that the cooperation of Quaternary geologists in neighbouring European countries was not well organised and could be improved. He also observed that much publication had been in Scandinavian languages and that this restricted appreciation in some other countries; but he remarked that these problems had been overcome in the Carpathians project- six years previously.

After Limanowski made his presentation there was a lively discussion and support was offered by the Soviet delegates Prof.A.E.Fersman and Prof.D.I.Mushketov as well as by delegates from Germany, Austria and other countries. Some critical comments came in a letter from Prof.G. de Geer, but the motion was accepted by the assembly. After the discussion the general meeting elected an Organising Committee composed of 14 persons with Prof.V.Madsen as chairperson and Prof.J.Nowak as secretary.

During the plenary session on the second day of the conference (26 June 1928) the plan and proposals presented by Limanowski were accepted and confirmed and a resolution was passed: ‘ The meeting of the General International Conference in Copenhagen in 1928 accepts unanimously the proposal of the Polish delegation for the establishment and organisation of the Association for Investigations of the Quaternary of Europe’. Before the meeting Prof. J. Lewinski had prepared some statutes for the association and these were also accepted unanimously. 

There were six main points:

1.  the name of the Association: Association pour l’etude du Quaternaire Europeen;

2.  the aim of the Association:  co-ordination of Quaternary research in Europe (with five sub-sections);

3.  the organisation of the Association:  A president and a secretariat with national representatives;

4.  the accessibility of the Association:  accessible to all scientists interested in Quaternary problems;

5.  Timing and location:  the date and place of the succeeding congress to be decided at the preceding one;

6. Changes to the statutes can only be made by the general meeting of the Association.

The five sub-sections of the second point illustrated the five main purposes of the association: a service of permanent information, always available; the facilitation of geological investigation in member countries; standardisation of terminology; organization of periodical congresses; development and publication of geological maps of Quaternary deposits. There were fourteen countries on the list of founder-countries; founders of the ‘Association for Research into the European Quaternary’: Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Soviet Union, Spain and Sweden. Their representatives became members of the organising committee whose chairman was Prof. V.Madsen; the secretary was Prof. J.Nowak.

In a parallel development the’Office of the Association’ was set up; this was composed of 15 delegates under the leadership of Prof.D.I.Mushketov from the Soviet Union. The statute of association was signed by 95 conference participants from the member countries, supplemented by representatives from Hungary and Italy.

Since many discussions and excursions at the Copenhagen conference concerned Quaternary matters it was decided that it should be seen as the first Congress of the new Quaternary Association.

Digression. Professor Dmitri Ivanovich Mushketov (1882-1938): First president of the Quaternary Association (proto-INQUA) but murdered by Stalin in the Great Terror in 1938. He was due to attend the 17th International Geological Congress in Moscow in 1937 but he was ‘disappeared’ in June 1937, and shot to death in February 1938. An examination was conducted in 1956 which determined that he had been wrongly convicted, on fabricated materials, and on 8 December 1956 he was fully rehabilitated posthumously.

D.I. Mushketov was the son of Professor I.V. Mushketov, another famous geologist. It was the senior Mushketov who dispatched V.A. Obruchev to Central Asia in 1886, where, in the words of his Nature obituary, he studied ‘aeolian deposits’. 

First (proto-INQUA) Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark, ~25-30 June 1928

The delegation from Great Britain suggested that they might organise the next conference in two years time. This was discussed and the interval stretched to four years, but the UK meeting was destined not to occur (until 1977). A short time after this initial meeting the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation in Paris was notified about the establisment of the new Quaternary Association and added it to its list of recognised organisations. Then it was necessary to affiliate with the International Geological Union, and the proceedure for doing this was initiated by the Polish geologists.

Digression.  The International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation (1922-1946) was the precursor to UNESCO. It had an office in Paris and was founded by the League of Nations. It’s a bit unclear whether it was an Insitute or a Committee, perhaps both terms were used. There may have been a journal ‘La Cooperation Intellectuelle’ and a book (IIIC 1938). In 1946 UNESCO took over all the activities and responsibilities of the IIIC.

Poland was, in effect, a centre of enthusiasm for this new Quaternary association and Polish scholars continued to drive many of the initiatives which led to its eventual success. The report on the activity of the Polish delegation in Copenhagen was presented at the eighth annual assembly of the Polish Geological Society in Lwow (Lvov, Lviv; September 1928). It was well received. A commission composed of representative from five universities (Professors M. Limanowski, W. Szafer, L. Kozlowski, S. Pawlowski and S. Lencewicz) was elected during the meeting with the remit to coordinate Quaternary activities in Poland. Prof. J. Lewinski was appointed to be secretary-correspondent to keep in touch with the new Quaternary Association.

Before the Danish conference the Polish Geological Society had made efforts to obtain some funding so that three members (Profs. J.Nowak, J.Tokarski and Dr.S.Kreutz) could attend the 15th International Geological Congress in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1929. In the end it looks as though Professors J.Lewinski, W.Goetel, J.Morozewicz and J.Loth actually attended the Pretoria conference, at which the development of the Quaternary association would be considered.

15th International Geological Congress, Pretoria, South Africa 27 July- 7 August 1929

The 15th International Geological Congress took place 27 July to 7 August 1929 in Pretoria. There was Quaternary business to be done. J. Lewinski representing the Polish Geological Society participated in meetings of the Council, and the question of the affirmation of the European Quaternary Association was discussed. J. Morozewicz proposed a motion to confirm it as an Association of the World Geological Union in the same way that the Carpathian Geological Association had been associated seven years earlier. There was a proposal to recognize it only as a Commission, put by Dr.P.Krusch, then a member of the German delegation. Prof. Lewinski argued against this and won the day. The General Secretary of the Congress accepted a motion..’To write an official letter to the President of the above Association to draw his attention to the resolution of Council (5 August 1929) giving official recognition to the Association and to offer, on the part of all the permanent International Commissions, the heartiest co-operation of this Congress’. Thus the European Quaternary Association gained respectability and its place among the learned institutions of the World. The Quaternary Association became part of the World Geological Union with an agreeable level of independence, just as the Carpathian Geological Association had done seven years previously.

During the Congress in Pretoria the British delegation reneged on its earlier offer to host the Quaternary meeting in 1930 or 1932 and an alternative had to be found. Unofficial negotions about this unexpected situation were carried out by the Polish delegation with representatives of various countries. Finally Prof. D.I.Mushketov took the initiative and in the name of the Soviet delegation suggested Leningrad as a place for the second Quaternary conference, and this proposal was accepted.

Second (proto-INQUA) Congress; Leningrad, Soviet Union, 1 September - 28 September 1932.

The second Quaternary Conference started on 7 September 1932, according to Alexandrowicz (2006); the report by Krasnov (1982) has it beginning on 1 September 1932. Two hundred and thirty nine persons participated in the Conference, representing nine countries: Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, USSR, Finland, France and Czechoslovakia. In the Alexandrowicz (2006) account only twenty foreign delegates attended (four from Poland). A.P. Karpinsky, president of the USSR Academy of Sciences, was the Honorary Chairman, and I.A. Gubkin, ASQUE President, was the Chairman. The Conference was held in Leningrad from 1 to 3 September, and from 4 to 27 September the excursion to the European part of the USSR and the Caucasus was organised. On September 28 the conference was closed in Leningrad. There were three sections: stratigraphical, geomorphological and on the study of ancient man. More than 60 scientific contributions were presented.

Digression: Vladimir Ivanovich Krokos (1889-1936).  Krokos is the only person mentioned by name in the body of the Krasnov report; he participated in the discussions on the problems of loess genesis. Krasnov names him as the first in the USSR to propose methods of studying multistage loesses and buried soils; in effect he invented palaeopedolgy (a claim that Krasnov makes for him). Krokos did not survive the Great Terror; it is interesting to note that Krasnov himself was arrested on 16 February 1938 along with G.Y.Meyer and A.I.Dzens-Litovsky, but he was released and survived to contribute to the 1982 Moscow INQUA Congress. The loess discussion must have been interesting; it appears that L.S.Berg and V.A.Obruchev both participated. Krasnov (1995) also contributed to the Berlin 1995 Congress- a stalwart Quaternarist!

Krasnov indicates that in 1932-1935 five volumes of Transactions of the Second ASQUE Conference were published. World List includes 59828 ‘Conference of the International Association on Quaternary Research’ ; the only copies of the proceedings for the 1932 Leningrad conference indicated in the UK are at the Natural History Museum library, in London.

Third (proto-INQUA) Congress; Vienna, Austria; September 1936

The third Quaternary conference was held in Vienna in September 1936; about 200 delegates participated, from 23 countries. The honorary chairman was Albrecht Penck and G. Gotzinger was the conference chairman. Gotzinger had a large influence on the Vienna conference and he was editor of the Proceedings (Gotzinger 1936). The name of the association continued to be discussed; the name Internationale Quartarvereinigung INQUA had been introduced in two publications in Sweden and Germany by G.Gotzinger, O.Ampferer and H.Gams. The INQUA acronym moved into general use.

The main topics of the conference were mountain glaciations of the Alps and their ranges and relation to Scandinavian ice-sheets. A superb and detailed report on the Vienna congress was written by R.Grahmann(1936) and this provides an accurate and valuable account of the scientific discussions. One of the most important events at the Vienna Congress may turn out to be the participation of Milutin Milankovitch and his presentation of the idea that the Quaternary climatic variations were caused by changes in solar insolation(see Jovanovic et al.2004)

Eight post-war Congresses (1953-1982)

Some arbitrary divisions begin to appear in this account and subjective distinctions are made. Various questions need to be considered: what are the distinctive features of an INQUA Congress, and how have these defining features changed over the years?  Where are there critical pivot points? Are there, in fact,  any critical pivot points or has it been a simple smooth transition? Essentially for the purposes of discussion a truly arbitrary division has been imposed on this brief history; a division of Congresses after the great resumption into ‘post-war’ and ‘modern’ Congresses. This may be absurd and possibly a little politically insensitive but some narrative structure was required.

INQUA Congresses resumed after the Second World War with the meeting at Rome and Pisa in 1953; the 4th Congress, with Gian Alberto Blanc serving as president and inspiration. This meeting was the first to adopt an emblem, logo, icon, symbol, badge; a penguin and a palm tree on an ocean beach, meant to suggest the complex climatic variations of the Pleistocene. The Polish scholars who had worked so hard to bring about the foundation and development of the Quaternary association were not allowed to attend the 4th Congress; they were represented by publications sent to the Congress administration. A proceedings volume was published (Blanc 1956), and it seems likely that this outburst of Quaternary activity in Italy led to the foundation of the journal Quaternaria (World List 41655, first published 1954). King (1953) reported on the meeting.

 Five Commissions were listed in Quaternaria no.1:

1. .. for the study of Shorelines

2. .. for a Quaternary dictionary

3 ..  for Nomenclature

4 ..  for the study of Recent Tectonics

5 ..  for a geological map of the Pleistocene of W. Europe

There is a lengthy report on the setting up of Commission 1 in Quaternaria 1, and a short report for Commission 3. Milankovitch participated again at the 1953 Congress and expounded again on his theory of ice ages; he did not have an entirely happy relationship with INQUA (Jovanovic et al 2004) but his two appearances mark a significant moment in the development of Quaternary science; in fact it might be argued that Milankovitch lays the basis for a truly scientific study of the Quaternary and that the 1936 and 1953 Congresses witness key moments in the development of science, and of INQUA.

The fifth Congress was in Spain and we know from the Alexandrowicz (2006) account that there was Polish participation, and that the Polish delegation proposed that the sixth Congress should be held in Poland, and that this proposal was accepted. The President of the Spanish Congress was Jose Alberada and the meeting was held in Madrid and Barcelona. The logo was based on a prehistoric cave painting of a bison from the Altamira district. The logo began to be perceived as a good idea, helping to identify each Congress and allowing associated materials to be suitably marked.

The sixth Congress was in Poland in 1961. Wladyslaw Szafer served as president. At this Congress the first INQUA Executive committee was elected and served during the inter-congress period. The first president of the executive committee was Andre Cailleux of France. The sixth congress produced a handsome four volume set of proceedings, edited by Jan Dylik and published in Lodz. Julius Fink from Vienna organised a loess symposium at which Liu Tung-sheng and Chang tsung-hu presented the data, multiple palaeosols, from the Luochuan loess section which showed, for the first time, the complex nature of the Quaternary. After the Loess Symposium the four-stage Quaternary was obsolete. The Loess Symposium was published in vol.4 of the Proceedings.

For the seventh Congress INQUA moved to North America; it convened in Denver and Boulder(Colorado) in the summer of 1965 with R.F.Flint as Congress president. G.M.Richmond was elected to be president of the next inter-congress executive committee. The General Assembly approved the adoption of a new constitution, in which INQUA’s name was changed (after many semantic adventures) to the International Union for Quaternary Research. The conference publications were stylish and abundant; this was perhaps the last congress where classical proceedings were produced; the range of field guides( each with its identifying letter) was certainly remarkable. Field trip I started from Boulder and travelled on the Denver, Rio Grande and Western Railway to Salt Lake City; first step on a journey to San Francisco.

Next to Paris; the eighth Congress met in 1969 with Jean Dresch as President. A reception for congress delegates was held in the Hotel de Ville, and scientific sessions were held at the Sorbonne. The Loess sub-commission was upgraded to full commission and an elegant guide to loess activities was published in the conference literature (AFEQ 1969). Also in the literature was the history of INQUA by Neustadt(1969)- who contributed to the report on the 11th Moscow Congress (Alekseev et al 1985) but died during its preparation.

South to New Zealand for the ninth congress, convened in 1973 in Christchurch. Maxwell Gage was conference president, and the president of the newly elected Executive Committee was Vladimir Sibrava. The NZ Congress was relatively poorly attended; the (reasonable) explanation for this was that the travel costs were beyond the pockets of most potential delegates. Fink complained about the tiny number of loess people who could attend from eastern Europe. I.P.Gerasimov from the Soviet Academy of Sciences did attend and went on the South Island Excursion; he examined the loess- and denied that any of it was loess, somehow it failed to meet the Soviet criteria.

Back to Europe for the tenth congress; the long-delayed UK Congress, held in Birmingham and presided over by Frank Shotton in 1977. The last reasonably sized book of abstracts.

Digression. Abstracts. The abstracts volume for the Birmingham Congress was a single A5 sized volume with 513 pages; one abstract per page. All the abstracts had been retyped so there was an agreeably consistent appearance; it could have included a few graphs or maps but these were excluded. It was a very acceptable and usable abstracts volume. At the following Moscow 1982 Congress a similar format was produced but in a multi-volume set, with some separation into themes, which was less successful. Also the Moscow volumes included all submitted abstracts, regardless of whether the author attended the Congress.There is some virtue in this in that it allows distant authors to offer their work, but it causes confusion and makes for unwieldy bulk. The Terra Nostra abstracts for the Berlin 1995 Congress were in a single A4 volume with 318 pages but each A4 page contained four A6 abstracts, which meant that some were difficult to read. They were not retyped so there was a wide variety of legibility. An essentially similar A4/A6 approach was used at the 2007 Cairns conference with the book in the form of a special issue of the journal Quaternary International(486 p.). This had a splendid appearance but was strikingly heavy; possibly the time had come to abandon abstracts for informative titles.

1982 marked the 50th anniversary of the 2nd Leningrad congress and INQUA returned to the Soviet Union. The meeting was held in Moscow with B.S.Sokolov as congress president. The president of the new executive committee was Hughes Faure. An elaborate report on the Congress was published (Alekseev et al 1985). This was the last of the ‘post-war’ congresses. The commissions were still operating and driving forward various parts of the INQUA agenda; there was considerable competition for official positions in the commissions, which to some extent reflected the larger divisions in the contemporary world.

The seven modern Congresses

What makes a modern Congress? A large attendance and the consequent problems of a crowded programme so that parallel sessions run and difficult individual choices have to be made. Operating in e-world; this should perhaps be demarcated as the key change, the critical development. The vast abstracts volume; some thought should be given to the abstracts volume; this will require some discussion in historical terms. 

To Canada(Ottawa 1987) for the 12th Congress. A beautiful logo well supported by stickers and badges. Nat Rutter was congress president and became president of the executive committee. Then on to China(Beijing 1991); this had the feeling of an incredible and momentous congress. Liu Tung-sheng was congress president and then president of the executive committee. The logo showed Peking Man, in one of the more stylish and informative productions of the logo sequence. The logo should ideally show place and time and congress number- and if possible catch some Quaternary essence. The 14th Congress was held in Berlin in 1995; congress president was B.Frenzel and S.C.Porter became president of the executive committee. Nicely reported by Lowe(1995). Then Africa: the 15th Congress was in Durban in 1999; T.C.Partidge was president and N.J.Shackleton took on the executive committee presidency. The 16th Congress(2003) was held in Reno, Nevada, USA with H.E.Wright as congress president. INQUA was re-structured and all the old commissions terminated; a new, simpler commission structure was erected. The 17th Congress (2007) was in Australia, at Cairns in Queensland, the 18th was at Bern in Switzerland (2011), and the 19th was at Nagoya, Japan. The 20th Congress will be held in Dublin, Ireland.

Afterthought- Key Events

The key events(of the Quaternary) are obvious, and very striking, and of enormous contemporary significance. During the lifetime of INQUA we have come to realise that the Quaternary was a time in which multiple oscillations of climate occurred; the data from thick loess sections, deep sea sediments, long ice cores from polar regions etc combine to show that the last two and a half million years contain many climatic cycles. And techniques have been developed which allow Quaternary events to be dated, in absolute terms, so that we begin to understand the temporal structure of the Quaternary, and the nature of the World in the time of Homo Sapiens. We also now have a scientific basis on which to stand the study of the Quaternary; Milutin Milankovitch has provided the necessary scientific impetus towards an understanding of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions of Quaternary research. INQUA assists, correlates, organises, records, encourages,and provides a framework for these activities.

This has been a history based on a succession of congresses; and it has been argued (Smalley 1998) that the history of INQUA is most adequately represented by the sequence of congresses. However it should be noted (perhaps emphasized) that the various Commissions played an important role in the INQUA story and that steady work continued in the inter-congress periods. In 2003, when the INQUA structure was remade, there were thirteen commissions, presumably representing the key Quaternary interests of the time (see appendix, from ICSU Handbook); their existence showed fairly efficiently how Quaternary science had developed from 1928 to 2003. Each Commission will have to supply its own history; some Commissions do this (e.g. Smalley et al 2010a, 2010b), but many Commissions, rich in scientists and investigators, lack a historian or bibliographer.


AFEQ  1969. La Stratigraphie des Loess d’Europe (Supplement au Bulletin de l’Association Francaise pour l’Etude du Quaternaire) 176p. CNRS-AFEQ Paris

Alekseev, M.N., Ivanova, I.K., Neustadt, M.I.(eds.)  1985.  Eleventh INQUA Congress: Summary and Perspectives. Nauka, Moscow 204p. (in Russian).

Alexandrowicz, S.W.  2006.  The Polish initiative in creation of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA). In: The Global and the Local:- The History of Science and the Cultural Integration of Europe. Proceedings of the 2nd ICESHS Conference, Cracow September 6-9 2006; ed. M. Kokowski, 194-197.

Blanc, G.A.(ed.) 1956.  Actes du IV Congres Internationale du Quaternaire Rome-Pisa aout-septembre 1953, Roma: Istituto Italiano di Paleontologia Umana 2 vols. (Australian National Library no. 2338527).

Gotzinger, G.(ed.)  1936.  Verhandlungen der III Internationalen Quartar-Konferenz Wien September 1936. Im Auftrag der Landerverter der INQUA Internationale Quartarvereinigung. 

Grahmann, R.  1937.  Die dritte Internationale Quartarkonferenz (INQUA) und ihre Belehnungsreisen in Osterreich, Sept. 1936.  Zeitschrift fur Gletscherkunde, fur Eiszeitforschung und Gesichte des Klimas (World List 58643, not 58644) 25, 241-280.

Jovanovic, M., Markovic, S.B., Gaudenyi, T.  2004.  Milutin Milankovitch and INQUA.  In Milutin Milankovitch Anniversary Symposium ‘Paleoclimate and Earth Climate System’ Serbian Academy of Science and Arts 30 Aug.-2 Sept.2004 Proceedings 177-181.

Kalinowskiej, M., Sadurskiego, A.(eds.)  1998.  Mieczyslaw Limanowski: Czlowiek, Tworca, Swiadek Czasow (Man, Artist, Symbol of his Time). University Torun 445p.

King, W.B.R.  1953.  Conference report: International Association of Quaternary Research Congress 1953. Journal of Glaciology 2, (no.15), 355.

Krasnov, I.I.  1982.  The second ASQUE Conference, 1932: reminiscences of a participant to the 50th anniversary of INQUA.  Abstracts 11th INQUA Congress Moscow 1982, v.1, 172-173.

Krasnov, I.I.  1995.  Internationale Quartarkarte von Europa (IQE): Gesichte der Zusammenstellung. Zustand der Problem.  Terra Nostra Abstracts 14th INQUA Congress Berlin 1995, 145.

Lowe, D.J. 1995. Site-seeing in Germany: A report on the International Union for Quaternary research (INQUA) 14th International Congress 3-10 August 1995 Berlin Germany .  New Zealand Soil News 43, 253-260.

Neustadt, M.I.  1969.  Historique des Congres.  INQUA Moscow 97pp. (published for 8th Paris Congress).

Porter, S.C.  2003.  INQUA Congresses: A 75th Anniversary Review. 16th (Reno) INQUA Congress Program with Abstracts 8-9 (ISBN 0-945920-51-2).On line at

Smalley, I.J.  1998.  INQUA Congresses. Quaternary Perspectives 9(1), 3-4.

Smalley, I.J., Markovic, S.B., O’Hara’Dhand, K. 2010a. The INQUA Loess Commission as a Central European enterprise. Central European Journal of GeoSciences 2(1), 3-8; reprinted in Loess Letter 63, April 2010.

Smalley, I.J., O’Hara-Dhand, K., Markovic, S.B.  2010b.  The Western Pacific Working Group of the INQUA Loess Commission: expansion from Central Europe.  Central European Journal of GeoSciences 2(1), 9-14;  reprinted in Loess Letter 63, April 2010.