Paraglacial slope instability in Scottish fjords: Examples from Little Loch Broom, NW Scotland


Stoker M, Wilson CR, Howe JA, Bradwell T & Long D (2010) Paraglacial slope instability in Scottish fjords: Examples from Little Loch Broom, NW Scotland. Geological Society Special Publications, 344, pp. 225-242.

Lateglacial–Holocene fjord sediments in Little Loch Broom preserve evidence of extensive slope instability. The major area of reworking is in the outer loch and mid-loch sill region where ice-contact/ice-proximal deposits of the Lateglacial Assynt Glaciogenic Formation have been disrupted by sliding and mass-flow processes linked to the Little Loch Broom Slide Complex and the adjacent Badcaul Slide. Mass failure was instigated about 14–13 ka BP, and is probably the response of the landscape to deglaciation immediately following the removal of ice support during glacial retreat. An initial phase of translational sliding was followed by rotational sliding, as revealed by the superimposition of scallop-shaped slumps on a larger-scale rectilinear pattern of failure. Paraglacial landscape readjustment may also have been enhanced by episodic seismic activity linked to glacio-isostatic unloading. In the inner fjord, evidence of Holocene mass failure includes the Ardessie debris lobe and a discrete intact slide block preserved within the postglacial basinal deposits. The former is a localized accumulation linked to a fluvial catchment on the adjacent An Teallach massif. These mass-transport deposits may represent an ongoing response to paraglacial processes, albeit much reduced (relative to the major slides) in terms of sediment supply to the fjord.

Geological Society Special Publications: Volume 344

Publication date31/12/2010
PublisherThe Geological Society