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Glaciation style and the Geomorphological Record: Evidence for Younger Dryas Glaciers in the Eastern Lake District, Northwest England

McDougall, Derek (2013) Glaciation style and the Geomorphological Record: Evidence for Younger Dryas Glaciers in the Eastern Lake District, Northwest England. Quaternary Science Reviews, 73 (1). pp. 48-58. ISSN 0277-3791

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Abstract

The Younger Dryas (c. 12,900–11,700 years ago) in Britain witnessed renewed glaciation, with the readvance of ice masses that had survived the preceding Lateglacial Interstadial as well as the formation of new glaciers. The extents of these former glaciers have been mapped by many workers over the past fifty years, usually as a basis for palaeoclimatic investigations. It has frequently been asserted that the landform record is sufficiently clear to allow accurate ice mass reconstructions at or near maximum extents. Detailed geomorphological mapping in the eastern Lake District in NW England, however, demonstrates that this confidence may not always be warranted. Whereas previous workers have interpreted the well-developed moraines that exist in some locations as evidence for an alpine-style of glaciation, with ice restricted to a small number of valleys, this study shows that the most recent glaciation to affect the area was characterised by: (i) extensive summit icefields, which supplied ice to the surrounding valleys; and (ii) a much greater volume of ice in the valleys than previously thought. The discovery that summit icefields were relatively common at this time is consistent with recent studies elsewhere in the Lake District and beyond. More significant, however, is the recognition that changing glacier–topographic interactions over both space and time appears to have had a profound impact on valley-floor glacial landform development, with the absence of clear moraines not necessarily indicating ice-free conditions at this time. This complicates glacier reconstructions based solely on the geomorphological record. Similar geomorphological complexity may be present in other areas that previously supported summit icefields, and this needs to be taken into account in glacier reconstructions.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Lake District, Glaciation style, Icefield, Moraines, Younger Dryas, Loch Lomond Stadial, Glacier reconstructions
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
Copyright Info: Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. SciVerse® is a registered trademark of Elsevier Properties S.A., used under license. ScienceDirect® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V.
Depositing User: Derek Mcdougall
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2013 14:34
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 14:06
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/2320

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