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Holocene alluvial environments at Barking, Lower Thames Valley (London, UK)

Green, C. P., Batchelor, C. R. ORCID:, Austin, P. J., Brown, A. D., Cameron, N. G. and Young, D. S. ORCID: (2014) Holocene alluvial environments at Barking, Lower Thames Valley (London, UK). Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 125 (3). pp. 279-295. ISSN 0016-7878

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2014.05.001


Deposit modelling based on archived borehole logs supplemented by a small number of dedicated boreholes is used to reconstruct the main boundary surfaces and the thickness of the main sediment units within the succession of Holocene alluvial deposits underlying the floodplain in the Barking Reach of the Lower Thames Valley. The basis of the modelling exercise is discussed and the models are used to assess the significance of floodplain relief in determining patterns of sedimentation. This evidence is combined with the results of biostratigraphical and geochronological investigations to reconstruct the environmental conditions associated with each successive stage of floodplain aggradation. The two main factors affecting the history and spatial pattern of Holocene sedimentation are shown to be the regional behaviour of relative sea level and the pattern of relief on the surface of the sub-alluvial, Late Devensian Shepperton Gravel. As is generally the case in the Lower Thames Valley, three main stratigraphic units are recognised, the Lower Alluvium, a peat bed broadly equivalent to the Tilbury III peat of Devoy (1979) and an Upper Alluvium. There is no evidence to suggest that the floodplain was substantially re-shaped by erosion during the Holocene. Instead, the relief inherited from the Shepperton Gravel surface was gradually buried either by the accumulation of peat or by deposition of fine-grained sediment from suspension in standing or slow-moving water. The palaeoenvironmental record from Barking confirms important details of the Holocene record observed elsewhere in the Lower Thames Valley, including the presence of Taxus in the valley-floor fen carr woodland between about 5000 and 4000 cal BP, and the subsequent growth of Ulmus on the peat surface.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:37081
Uncontrolled Keywords:Deposit modelling; Lower Thames; Shepperton Gravel; Environmental change; Peat; Holocene

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