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Stratigraphic architecture and sedimentology of a Late Pleistocene subaqueous moraine complex, southwest Ireland



Glacigenic sediments exposed in coastal cliffs cut through undulatory terrain fronting the Last Glacial Maximum laterofrontal moraine at Waterville on the Iveragh Peninsula, southwest Ireland, comprise three lithofacies. Lithofacies 1 and 2 consist of interdigitated, offlapping and superimposed ice-proximal subaqueous outwash and stacked sequences of cohesionless and cohesive subaqueous debris flows, winnowed lag gravels and coarse-grained suspension deposits. These are indicative of sedimentation in and around small grounding line fans that prograded from an oscillating glacier margin into a proglacial, interlobate lake. Lithofacies 3 comprises braided river deposits that have undergone significant syn-sedimentary soft-sediment deformation. Deposition was likely related to proglacial outwash activity and records the reduction of accommodation space for subaqueous sedimentation, either through the lowering of proglacial water levels or due to basin infilling. The stratigraphic architecture and sedimentology of the moraine at Waterville highlight the role of ice-marginal depositional processes in the construction of morphostratigraphically significant ‘end moraine’ complexes in Great Britain and Ireland. Traditional ‘tills’ in these moraines are often crudely stratified diamictons and gravelly clinoforms deposited in ice-proximal subaqueous and subaerial fans. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.