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Interlobate ice-sheet dynamics during the Last Glacial Maximum at Whitburn Bay, County Durham, England

By Bethan J. Davies, David H. Roberts, Colm O Cofaigh, David R. Bridgland, James B. Riding, Emrys R. Phillips and Derek A. Teasdale


This research reconstructs ice-sheet processes operating during the Late Devensian in northeast England. The article assesses the lithostratigraphy of the Devensian glacial tills of Whitburn Bay, eastern County Durham, and presents the first detailed analysis of petrological, geochemical and biostratigraphical data to reconstruct lithostratigraphy, provenance and iceflow pathways. Two Devensian tractions tills (the Blackhall and Horden tills) are separated by a boulder pavement, pointing to a switch in ice-bed conditions and the production of a melt-out lag prior to deposition of the upper traction till, the Horden Till. The Blackhall Till contains Magnesian Limestone, Carboniferous Limestone, Whin Sill dolerite and Old Red Sandstone, suggesting a northwesterly source, probably from the Midland Valley and the Southern Uplands. The Horden Till contains erratics and heavy minerals derived from crystalline bedrock sources in the Cheviot Hills and northeast Scotland. Within the Horden Till are numerous sand, clay and gravel-filled canals incised downwards into the diamicton which are attributed to a low-energy, distributed, subglacial canal drainage system. Coupled with hydro-fractures and the boulder pavement, this suggests that a partially decoupled, fast-flowing ice stream deposited the Horden Till. The uphill, landward direction of ice movement indicates that the ice stream was confined in the North Sea Basin, possibly by the presence of Scandinavian Ice

Topics: Glaciology, Earth Sciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2008.00083.x
OAI identifier:

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