The last British Ice Sheet: growth, maximum extent and deglaciation
Lindsay J. Wilson1, William E. N. Austin1
- Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
(issn: 1751-8369, eissn: 1751-8369)
The growth, maximum lateral extent and deglaciation of the last British Ice Sheet (BIS) has been reconstructed using sediment, faunal and stable isotope methods from a sedimentary record recovered from the Barra Fan, north-west Scotland. During a phase of ice sheet expansion postdating the early “warmth” of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3), ice rafting events, operating with a cyclicity of approximately 1500 years, are interspersed between warm, carbonate-rich interstadials operating with a strong Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) cyclicity. The data suggest that the BIS expanded westwards to the outer continental shelf break shortly after 30 Ky BP (before present) and remained there until about 15 Ky BP. Within MIS 2, as the ice sheet grew to its maximum extent, the pronounced periodicities which characterize MIS 3 are lost from the record. The exact timing of the Last Glacial Maximum is difficult to define in this record; but maxima in Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (sinistral) Ø18O are observed between 21-17 Ky BP. A massive discharge of ice-rafted detritus, coincident with Heinrich event 1, is observed at about 16 Ky BP. Deglaciation of the margin is complete by about 15 Ky BP and surface waters warm rapidly after this date.