Ice caps existed throughout the Lateglacial Interstadial in northern Scotland



Bradwell T, Fabel D, Stoker M, Mathers HE, McHargue L & Howe JA (2008) Ice caps existed throughout the Lateglacial Interstadial in northern Scotland. Journal of Quaternary Science, 23 (5), pp. 401-407.

We constrain, in detail, fluctuations of two former ice caps in NW Scotland with multibeam seabed surveys, geomorphological mapping and cosmogenic10Be isotope analyses. We map a continuous sequence of 40 recessional moraines stretching from ∼10 km offshore to the Wester Ross mountains. Surface-exposure ages from boulders on moraine ridges in Assynt and the Summer Isles region show that substantial, dynamic, ice caps existed in NW Scotland between 13 and 14 ka BP. We interpret this as strong evidence that large active glaciers probably survived throughout the Lateglacial Interstadial, and that during the Older Dryas period (ca. 14 ka BP) ice caps in NW Scotland were thicker and considerably more extensive than in the subsequent Younger Dryas Stadial. By inference, we suggest that Lateglacial ice-cap oscillations in Scotland reflect the complex interplay between changing temperature and precipitation regimes during this climatically unstable period (ca. 15–11 ka BP).

Older Dryas; moraines; cosmogenic dating; multibeam bathymetry

Journal of Quaternary Science: Volume 23, Issue 5

Publication date31/07/2008
Publication date online07/04/2008
Date accepted by journal30/01/2008

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Dr Tom Bradwell

Dr Tom Bradwell

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences