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Title: Quaternary geomorphology of the Assynt area, N.W. Scotland
Author: Lawson, Timothy John
ISNI:       0000 0001 3606 1794
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1983
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The main factors influencing the distribution of geomorphic features in the Assynt area are geology and the location of Loch Lomond Advance glaciers. A study of glacial striae and erratics has enabled the construction of a model for the development of the last ice sheet. Glaciers developed in the corries on the N and E side of the Assynt mountains, coalesced and thickened until an ice divide was established, ice overtopping the mountain ridge to flow both eastwards and westwards; the ice divide was always situated to the E side of the mountains. Even the highest parts of the study area were covered by ice to a considerable depth. An early deglaciation of the area is suggested by a radiocarbon date of 18,040 240 years B.P. from fragments of reindeer antlers. Reconstruction of the seven Loch Lomond Advance glaciers that subsequently formed in the area has shown that the main snow -bearing airstreams came from the south and that the blowing of snow onto glaciers surfaces was a major factor in their development. Glacial friction cracks are widespread in the Assynt area. A revision of nomenclature and a simplified classification is suggested. Attempts have been made to characterise certain Assynt friction crack forms, and orientation studies suggest that they are useful ways of establishing the former ice flow direction when striae or ice -moulded bedrock are absent, as long as a large number of them are measured. Their orientation is sometimes affected by weakenesses in the bedrock. A study of the caves in the Cambrian dolomite of the area indicates that they originated phreatically, but subsequent lowering of the local water-table has tended to result in high-level, abandoned passages, often choked with clastic deposits, and lower - level passages containing the active streamways. Clastic cave sediments are largely allochthonous, being derived from local glacial deposits. The dating of certain calcite speleothems has shown that many of the main elements of the subterranean drainage network were in existence prior to the last glaciation, and some parts may predate the penultimate interglacial. The Creag nan Uamh caves have yielded a unique Devensian and Flandrian fauna, and also evidence for the earliest recorded existence of man in Scotland, dated by radiocarbon to 10,080 70 years B.P.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geology