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Keywords:

  • Chalk microfossils;
  • till provenance;
  • Lowestoft Formation till;
  • Anglian Glaciation;
  • eastern England

Abstract

The distribution and deposits of British and Scandinavian Middle Pleistocene ice sheets in eastern England remain problematic. A new till provenancing technique based on Chalk micropalaeontology is described, with the object of refining understanding of the ice sheet which deposited the Lowestoft Formation till (Anglian/Elsterian) and its relationship to Scandinavian ice sheets. The technique involves extracting foraminifera from Chalk erratics and till matrix obtained from stratigraphically controlled till sections and comparing their micropalaeontology with that of Upper Cretaceous Chalk bedrock. Application to the Lowestoft Formation till of eastern England suggests that current models of ice-flow in this region require revision involving reinstatement of some earlier ideas. Chalk provenance data indicate an initial phase of glaciation, with ice streaming southwards across eastern England before fanning across East Anglia from the position of the Fen basin. This was followed by a later phase in which the main southward trajectory of ice-flow was located further east in the North Sea Basin, but again with ice fanning out across East Anglia. These ice-flow trajectories imply constraint of the British ice sheet by Scandinavian ice. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.