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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Brader, M., Lloyd, J.M., Bentley, M. & Newton, A. Lateglacial to Holocene relative sea-level changes in the Stykkishólmur area, northern Snæfellsnes, Iceland. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2015;30:497-507.

Author(s) from Durham


Comparatively little research has been undertaken on relative sea-level (RSL) change in western Iceland. This paper presents the results of diatom, tephrochronological and radiocarbon analyses on six isolation basins and two coastal lowland sediment cores from the Stykkishólmur area, northern Snæfellsnes, western Iceland. The analyses provide a reconstruction of Lateglacial to mid-Holocene RSL changes in the region. The marine limit is measured to 65–69 m above sea level (asl), with formation being estimated at 13.5 cal ka BP. RSL fall initially occurred rapidly following marine limit formation, until ca. 12.6 cal ka BP, when the rate of RSL fall decreased. RSL fell below present in the Stykkishólmur area during the early Holocene (by ca. 10 cal ka BP). The rates of RSL change noted in the Stykkishólmur area demonstrate lesser ice thicknesses in Snæfellsnes than Vestfirðir during the Younger Dryas, when viewed in the regional context. Consequently, the data provide an insight into patterns of glacio-isostatic adjustment surrounding Breiðafjörður, a hypothesized major ice stream at the Last Glacial Maximum.

Department of Geography