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Title: Extent, timing and nature of retreat of the British-Irish Ice Sheet offshore of north-western Ireland during and following the Last Glacial Maximum
Author: Weilbach, Kasper
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 7601
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2018
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There has been a long history of research that has attempted to reconstruct the extent and dynamics of the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) during the last glacial cycle. Early reconstructions of ice extent in Ireland were based on terrestrial evidence, and advocated a relatively restricted ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) that did not cover the whole of the island. More recent investigations from the continental shelf around Britain and Ireland reveal evidence for a much larger ice sheet, confluent with the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet in the North Sea and extending westwards onto the Atlantic continental shelf. However, offshore chronological control on the timing of ice sheet advance and retreat remain poor for many sectors of the continental shelf, particularly west and north-west of Ireland. This thesis brings together high-resolution multibeam swath bathymetry, sub-bottom proler data, and sedimentological, micropalaeontological and geochronological data, in order to reconstruct the extent, timing and dynamics of the last ice sheet in Donegal Bay and the adjoining north-western Irish continental shelf. This area is of interest due to its location adjacent to the North Atlantic and the Gulf Stream branch of the thermohaline circulation, making this sector of the BIIS sensitive to external forcing. The new data in this thesis show evidence for the extension of a grounded ice sheet to the shelf edge at or shortly after 26.3 cal ka BP, and thus during the LGM. Foraminiferal assemblages and lithofacies show that subsequent retreat took place in a glacimarine environment, and acoustic stratigraphic data show that the retreat was characterised by several still stands and re-advances, creating a series of arcuate moraines across the shelf. Chronological data constrain initial retreat from the shelf edge to before 24.8 cal ka BP, with formation of a large moraine at the mouth of Donegal Bay dated to between 20.2 and 17.9 cal ka BP. The results and interpretations presented in this thesis thereby offers a new interpretation of the extent, timing and nature of the north-western sector of the BIIS, offshore of Donegal Bay and across the adjacent continental shelf, during the LGM and the subsequent deglaciation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available