Scottish landform examples : The Cairngorms - a pre-glacial upland granite landscape

Hall, A.M.; Gillespie, M.R.; Thomas, C.W.; Ebert, K.. 2013 Scottish landform examples : The Cairngorms - a pre-glacial upland granite landscape. Scottish Geographical Journal, 129 (1). 2-14.

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The Cairngorm massif in NE Scotland (Figure 1) is an excellent example of a preglacial upland landscape formed in granite. Glacial erosion in the mountains has been largely confined to valleys and corries (Rea, 1998) and so has acted to dissect a pre-existing upland (Figure 2). Intervening areas of the massif experienced negligible glacial erosion due to protective covers of cold-based ice (Sugden, 1968) and preserve a wide range of pre-glacial and non-glacial landforms and regolith. This assemblage is typical for many formerly glaciated upland and mountain areas around the world. The cliffs that sharply demarcate the edges of glacial valleys and corries allow the main pre-glacial landforms to be easily identified. The former shape of pre-glacial valleys and valley heads can then be reconstructed by extrapolation of contours to provide a model of the pre-glacial relief of the Cairngorms (Thomas et al., 2004). This relief model (Figure 3) provides a basis for understanding the development of the landscape over timescales of many millions of years, including the role of geology, weathering, fluvial erosion and, lately, glacial erosion in shaping the relief.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 19 Dec 2012 12:08 +0 (UTC)

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