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Glaciodynamics of the central sector of the last British–Irish ice sheet in Northern England

Livingstone, S. J., Evans, D. J.A., Ó Cofaigh, C., Davies, B. J., Merritt, J. W., Huddart, D., Mitchell, W. A., Roberts, D. H. and Yorke, L. (2012) Glaciodynamics of the central sector of the last British–Irish ice sheet in Northern England. Earth-Science Reviews, 111 (1-2). pp. 25-55. ISSN 0012-8252

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.12.006


The central sector of the last British–Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) was characterised by considerable complexity, both in terms of its glacial stratigraphy and geomorphological signature. This complexity is reflected by the large number and long history of papers that have attempted to decipher the glaciodynamic history of the region. Despite significant advances in our understanding, reconstructions remain hotly debated and relatively local, thereby hindering attempts to piece together BIIS dynamics. This paper seeks to address these issues by reviewing geomorphological mapping evidence of palimpsest flow signatures and providing an up-to-date stratigraphy of the region. Reconciling geomorphological and sedimentological evidence with relative and absolute dating constraints has allowed us to develop a new six-stage glacial model of ice-flow history and behaviour in the central sector of the last BIIS, with three major phases of glacial advance. This includes: I. Eastwards ice flow through prominent topographic corridors of the north Pennines; II. Cessation of the Stainmore ice flow pathway and northwards migration of the North Irish Sea Basin ice divide; III. Stagnation and retreat of the Tyne Gap Ice Stream; IV. Blackhall Wood–Gosforth Oscillation; V. Deglaciation of the Solway Lowlands; and VI. Scottish Re-advance and subsequent final retreat of ice out of the central sector of the last BIIS. The ice sheet was characterised by considerable dynamism, with flow switches, initiation (and termination) of ice streams, draw-down of ice into marine ice streams, repeated ice-marginal fluctuations and the production of large volumes of meltwater, locally impounded to form ice-dammed glacial lakes. Significantly, we tie this reconstruction to work carried out and models developed for the entire ice sheet. This therefore situates research in the central sector within contemporary understanding of how the last BIIS evolved over time.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:36323

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