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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Bridgland, D.R. The record from British Quaternary river systems within the context of global fluvial archives. Journal of quaternary science. 2010;25:433–446.

Author(s) from Durham


Data amassed in the past decade on Quaternary fluvial archives has allowed comparison across widely separated regions of the world. Meanwhile there has been a new impetus for research on British sequences, as a result particularly of the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF). In this context, the key British records (from the Thames, Severn–Avon, Trent, Wash system and Solent) are described briefly, with emphasis on the latest information. In the case of the Trent, sedimentary evidence, discovered during ALSF-funded work, appears to confirm the existence of a Middle Pleistocene ‘Trent–Ancaster’ River. In the case of the Solent, independent projects that sought to improve the age constraint for the sequence have produced complementary results; the first used luminescence dating, whereas the second made use of Palaeolithic evidence to calibrate numerical incision/uplift modelling. The overarching message is that the British fluvial archive can be readily understood within a global context; it typifies records from areas with relatively young crust that has been uplifting during the Quaternary and, being in the temperate latitudes and close to the Atlantic margin, it reflects strong climatic forcing. The combination of rich faunal and Palaeolithic artefact contents means that certain British records are of international significance.

Department of Geography