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The Late Pleistocene Afton Lodge Clay Formation, Ayrshire, Scotland: evidence for Early to Middle Devensian climatic changes and Late Devensian onshore ice flow and rafting from the Firth of Clyde

Merritt, Jon W.; Akhurst, Maxine C.; Wilkinson, Ian P.; Riding, James B.; Phillips, Emrys R.; Smith, Richard A.; Finlayson, Andrew; Dean, Mark T.. 2014 The Late Pleistocene Afton Lodge Clay Formation, Ayrshire, Scotland: evidence for Early to Middle Devensian climatic changes and Late Devensian onshore ice flow and rafting from the Firth of Clyde. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 125 (2). 195-214. 10.1016/j.pgeola.2013.12.004

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Abstract/Summary

An investigation into the late Pleistocene sediments exposed at Afton Lodge has helped to clarify the glacial history of western central Scotland. The sequence includes several allochthonous bodies of ‘shelly clay’ (Afton Lodge Clay Formation) associated with Late Devensian (Weichselian) age diamict. The shelly clay contains abundant marine macro- and microfauna, as well as palynomorphs consistent with its deposition within a shallow marine to estuarine environment. Faunal changes within the main body of marine clay record at least one, millennial-scale cycle of Arctic-Boreal, to Boreal, and back to Arctic-Boreal climatic conditions. A radiocarbon date of over 41 ka 14C BP obtained from the foraminifera indicates that the marine clays are older than the surrounding till. Afton Lodge is thus one of a suite of ‘high-level’ shelly clay occurrences around the Scottish coasts that are now considered to be glacially transported. Together with closely associated ‘shelly tills’, the rafts were emplaced during an early phase of the last glaciation by ice flowing from the western Grampian Highlands of Scotland through the topographically-confined Firth of Clyde basin. The blocks of marine sediment were detached subglacially, unfrozen, and carried at least 10 km by ice that splayed out onshore against reversed slopes favouring raft emplacement and the creation of closely associated ribbed moraine. Transport of the rafts was facilitated by water-lubricated de´ collement surfaces and their accretion was accompanied by dewatering. The shelly tills were formed mainly by the attenuation and crushing of rafts of shelly clay during their transport within the subglacial deforming bed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.pgeola.2013.12.004
ISSN: 0016-7878
Additional Keywords: Quaternary of Scotland Glacial rafts Middle Devensian Climate changes Raised shelly marine deposits Macro- and micropalaeontology Glacial history
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Glaciology
Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 22 Apr 2014 10:19 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/507104

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