The Brampton kame belt and Pennine escarpment meltwater channel system (Cumbria, UK): morphology, sedimentology and formation

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Livingstone, S.J. ; Evans, D.J.A. ; Cofaigh, C.O. ; Hopkins, J. (2010)
  • Publisher: Elsevier

The Brampton kame belt represents one of the largest glaciofluvial complexes within the UK. It is composed of an array of landform-sediment assemblages, associated with a suite of meltwater channels and situated within a palimpsest landscape of glacial features in the heart of one of the most dynamic parts of the British–Irish Ice Sheet. Glacial geomorphological mapping and sedimentological analysis have allowed a detailed reconstruction of both the morphological features and the temporal evolution of the Brampton kame belt, with processes informed by analogues from modern ice margins. The kame belt demonstrates the development of a complex glacier karst typified by the evolution of subglacial meltwater tunnels into an englacial and supraglacial meltwater system dominated by ice-walled lakes and migrating ice-contact drainage networks. Topographic inversion led to the extensive reworking of sediments, with vertical collapse and debris flows causing partial disintegration of the morphology. The resultant landform comprises a series of kettle holes, discontinuous ridges and flat-topped hills. The Pennine escarpment meltwater network, which fed the Brampton kame belt, is composed of an anastomosing subglacial channel system and flights of lateral channels. The Brampton kame belt is envisaged to have formed during the stagnation of ice in the lee of the Pennines as ice retreated westwards into the Solway Lowlands. The formation of the Brampton kame belt also has particular conceptual resonance in terms of constraining the nature of kame genesis, whereby an evolving glacier karst is a key mechanism in the spatial and temporal development of ice-contact sediment-landform associations.
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