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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Professor Mark White

White, T.S., Bridgland, D.R., Westaway, R., Howard, A.J. & White, M.J. (2010). Evidence from the Trent terrace archive, Lincolnshire, UK, for lowland glaciation of Britain during the Middle and Late Pleistocene. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 121(2): 141-153.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The late Middle Pleistocene fluvial terrace sequence of the lower Trent system, Lincolnshire (eastern England), provides an excellent record of environmental change, including evidence for the last two interglacial episodes. It also provides important stratigraphical evidence for the timing and extent of three separate glaciations. Two of these, the Anglian and Devensian, are well-established correlatives of Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 12 and 2 respectively; the third is a hitherto un-named post-Anglian–pre-Devensian glaciation in eastern England that has been the subject of much previous speculation, but can now be attributed with some confidence to MIS 8. Crucially, the recognition of MIS 7 interglacial deposits within the Balderton–Southrey terrace of the proto-Trent indicates that the underlying Wragby Till, which is ascribed to this additional glaciation, was emplaced no later than MIS 8. The oldest terrace preserved within the lower Trent staircase, the Eagle Moor–Martin Terrace, is considered to be a complex glacial outwash terrace related to the Wragby Till glaciation. It is suggested that deposits representing MIS 11–9, which are conspicuously absent throughout the Trent system, were removed by this glaciation. This is a departure from previous interpretations, which have suggested MIS 10 or MIS 6 as the most likely stages in which an extensive post-Anglian–pre-Devensian lowland glaciation might have occurred in Britain. However, the widespread preservation of undisrupted post-MIS 8 fluvial sequences throughout the Trent valley and in neighbouring systems, within which MIS 7 interglacial deposits have now been recognized at a number of localities, indicates that ice sheets are unlikely to have advanced further into this catchment during MIS 6 than during the Devensian (MIS 2). Recognition of a British glaciation during MIS 8 corresponds with widespread evidence in Europe, which suggests that glacial deposits classified as ‘Saalian’ represent both MIS 8 and MIS 6; in many areas, distinguishing these remains controversial, as confident correlation with either stage is often only possible where glacial sediments interdigitate with well-constrained fluvial records.