Reconstructing multiple high sea level events in the Channel – the records from southwest England and south Wales

Theme: Past Life & Environments

Primary Supervisor:

Rebecca Briant

Department of Geography, BBK

Rebecca Briant's Profile Picture

Secondary Supervisor:

Gerald Roberts

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, BBK

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Project Description:

Determining the age of raised beach sequences adjacent to the Channel is crucial in understanding the evolution of the landscape in this region, which has significant implications for the movement of hominins. Such sequences are hard to date reliably, although recent application of OSL dating shows promise where suitable material is available. The synchronous correlation approach, pioneered on rapidly uplifting coastlines, allows raised beach sequences with incomplete dating to be considered as a whole, providing age estimates even for sequences where direct dating is not possible, by using dated sequences as tie-points and knowledge of globally varying sea levels to predict which highstand events will be preserved. Recent application of this approach to the lower uplift rate coasts of Cotentin (France) and Sussex (England) has successfully suggested age estimates for previously enigmatic sequences. Further west within the Channel system, in southwest England and south Wales, there are multiple raised beach deposits of often uncertain age, that this approach could more effectively date. In this project, the student will digitally collate using a GIS published records from these beaches (including recent OSL dating by Matt Telfer in Plymouth [external co-supervisor]), undertake fieldwork on yet to be revisited sequences, use OSL dating (as a visitor in Plymouth) to date those sequences where suitable material is available and use the synchronous correlation approach to generate a new age model for this region.

Policy Impact of Research:

This work will be of value to geologists and archaeologists interested in the co-evolution of landscape and human activity in this region.


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