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An ice cap landsystem for palaeoglaciological reconstructions : characterizing the Younger Dryas in western Scotland

Golledge, Nicholas. 2007 An ice cap landsystem for palaeoglaciological reconstructions : characterizing the Younger Dryas in western Scotland. Quaternary Science Reviews, 26 (1-2). 213-229. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.08.007

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Abstract/Summary

This paper reviews the contrasting behaviours of ice caps and icefields, defines a generic landsystem model that can effectively discriminate between them, and applies the model to landform-sediment assemblages in an area of western Scotland. Such a model is necessary, since many palaeoenvironmental inferences from formerly glaciated terrains are based on the geometry, extent and dynamics of reconstructed ice masses. The validity of these glacier reconstructions is dependent on the accurate initial interpretation of relict landforms and sediments, and their inter-relationships. A new landsystems model is presented here, in which individual geological and geomorphological elements are checked against a set of eight theoretical diagnostic criteria that characterize the style of former glaciation. When applied to a 1200 km2 area of the western Scottish Highlands, the landsystem tool predicts (1) an extensive Younger Dryas ice cap with a maximum surface elevation of 900 m above sea level, implying colder or wetter conditions than previously thought, and (2) the survival of an independent mountain icefield in part of the area during deglaciation. Glaciological theory, proxy palaeoenvironmental data and established glacier-climate-topography relationships support these predictions, thereby giving credibility to the landsystem methodology as a generic tool for palaeoglaciological reconstructions

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.08.007
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Geology and Landscape Northern
ISSN: 0277-3791
Additional Keywords: Dryas, Scotland - west, Ice caps, Glaciology
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 21 Aug 2008 08:53
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/3933

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