Alastair G. C. Graham (e-mail: email@example.com), Ice Sheets Programme, British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK; Lidia Lonergan (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London SW7 2AZ, UK; Martyn S. Stoker (e-mail: email@example.com), British Geological Survey, Murchison House, Edinburgh EH11 3LA, UK
Depositional environments and chronology of Late Weichselian glaciation and deglaciation in the central North Sea
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2010
© 2010 The Authors, Journal compilation © 2010 The Boreas Collegium
Volume 39, Issue 3, pages 471–491, July 2010
How to Cite
GRAHAM, A. G. C., LONERGAN, L. and STOKER, M. S. (2010), Depositional environments and chronology of Late Weichselian glaciation and deglaciation in the central North Sea. Boreas, 39: 471–491. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2010.00144.x
- Issue published online: 17 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2010
- received 15th April 2009, accepted 15th December 2009.
Graham, A.G.C., Lonergan, L. & Stoker, M.S. 2010: Depositional environments and chronology of Late Weichselian glaciation and deglaciation in the central North Sea. Boreas, Vol. 39, pp. 471–491. 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2010.00144.x. ISSN 0300-9483.
Geological constraints on ice-sheet deglaciation are essential for improving the modelling of ice masses and understanding their potential for future change. Here, we present a detailed interpretation of depositional environments from a new 30-m-long borehole in the central North Sea, with the aim of improving constraints on the history of the marine Late Pleistocene British–Fennoscandian Ice Sheet. Seven units characterize a sequence of compacted and distorted glaciomarine diamictons, which are overlain by interbedded glaciomarine diamictons and soft, bedded to homogeneous marine muds. Through correlation of borehole and 2D/3D seismic observations, we identify three palaeoregimes. These are: a period of advance and ice-sheet overriding; a phase of deglaciation; and a phase of postglacial glaciomarine-to-marine sedimentation. Deformed subglacial sediments correlate with a buried suite of streamlined subglacial bedforms, and indicate overriding by the SE–NW-flowing Witch Ground ice stream. AMS 14C dating confirms ice-stream activity and extensive glaciation of the North Sea during the Last Glacial Maximum, between c. 30 and 16.2 14C ka BP. Sediments overlying the ice-compacted deposits have been reworked, but can be used to constrain initial deglaciation to no later than 16.2 14C ka BP. A re-advance of British ice during the last deglaciation, dated at 13.9 14C ka BP, delivered ice-proximal deposits to the core site and deposited glaciomarine sediments rapidly during the subsequent retreat. A transition to more temperate marine conditions is clear in lithostratigraphic and seismic records, marked by a regionally pervasive iceberg-ploughmarked erosion surface. The iceberg discharges that formed this horizon are dated to between 13.9 and 12 14C ka BP, and may correspond to oscillating ice-sheet margins during final, dynamic ice-sheet decay.