Multiproxy quantification of Late Glacial rates and magnitudes of palaeo-ice sheet change on the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland.

Theme: Past Life & Environments

Primary Supervisor:

Bethan Davies

Department of Geography, RHUL

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Secondary Supervisor:

Simon Blockley

Department of Geography, RHUL

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Project Description:

During the Late Glacial, the Scottish Readvance resulted in an inundation of the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland (McCabe and Williams, 2012). The Irish Sea Ice Steam re-advanced southwards to Killard Point, forming the Killard Point Moraine (McCabe et al., 2007). However, the forcing mechanisms that drove this readvance are poorly understood. Although it has previously been related to Heinrich Event 1 (McCabe and Clark, 1998), the onshore and offshore chronology is largely unconstrained (Chiverrell et al., 2013).
This sector of the British-Irish Ice Sheet is located at the intersection between Irish Sea Ice Stream and Malin Sea Ice Stream (Finlayson et al., 2014). Understanding the forcing mechanisms, timing and pattern of retreat and scale of recession will shed insights into understanding broader controls on ice divide migration. Ultimately, these datasets are required for understanding cryosphere-ocean-atmosphere drivers and responders, and critical thresholds for rapid change.
This project will test the hypothesis that there was a Late Glacial readvance of Scottish Ice into Co. Antrim during Heinrich Event 1.
The aim is to constrain ice dynamics in Co. Antrim during the Late Glacial Period. Our objectives are:
1. Provide a detailed and high resolution geomorphological map that identifies the ice margins associated with the Scottish Readvance.
2. Identify a series of basins that contained lakes during the Late Glacial Period that can be geomorphological related to the ice margin.
3. Characterise the cryptotephras deposited in key lakes;
4. Create a tephrostratigraphic framework for constraining the timing of ice recession from Co. Antrim.

Policy Impact of Research:

Outputs will represent BGS and GSNI at conferences and produce academic papers, helping to raise awareness of the importance of DfE, GSNI and BGS funding, strengthen the case for an UNESCO Geopark in the area (Causeway Coast and Glens), and increase awareness of the region’s unique geoheritage and geotourism potential.

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