Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Roberts, D.H., Chiverrell, R.C., Innes, J.B., Horton, B.P., Brooks, A.J., Thomas, G.S.P., Turner, S. & Gonzalez, S. Holocene sea levels, Last Glacial Maximum glaciomarine environments and geophysical models in the northern Irish Sea Basin, UK. Marine Geology. 2006;231:113-128.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Newly acquired geological records from the Isle of Man reveal intercalated intertidal and terrestrial sediments that record a relative sea-level rise from ca. − 3.86 m in the early Holocene up to a mid-Holocene maximum between ca. 6.6 and 4.5 cal kyr BP at ca. + 2.25 m. When compared with similar marine records from elsewhere in the northern Irish Sea Basin, the sea-level data confirm a strong north–south trend in glacioisostatic loading, but little east to west difference in loading. This pattern results from the central northern sectors of the British ice sheet over Scotland strongly influencing the glacioisostatic downwarping throughout the northern Irish Sea Basin. Differential ice thicknesses over the Irish Sea, the Lake District and Ireland did not cause perturbations of local glacioisostatic signatures. The Holocene marine data in the central Irish Sea record a slow termination of global eustatic sea-level rise during the early Holocene. Geophysical predictions of relative sea level, partially constrained by the Holocene RSL observations but extrapolated to the Last Glacial Maximum, show the potential for shallow marine conditions in the central Irish Sea Basin and in northeast Ireland between ca. 21.0–16.0 cal kyr BP. However, glaciomarine deposits in northeast Ireland suggest the model relative sea-level predictions are too low, and require increased ice loading or a thinner lithosphere to generate extra glacioisostatic depression at the time of deglaciation. Furthermore, predicted deglacial relative sea level for northeast Ireland does not match the geological record, highlighting complex ice margin/ocean interaction during deglaciation. On the Isle of Man, where glacioisostatic loading is of a similar magnitude to that across northeast Ireland, the presence of grounded ice inhibited marine incursion during early deglaciation, but the occurrence of glaciolacustrine conditions along the ice margin as it moved northwards supports model predictions that relative sea-level fell below present during the Late Glacial/early Holocene due to rapid glacioisostatic rebound.

References

Austin, W.E.N., McCarroll, D., 1992. Foraminifera from the Irish Sea glacigenic deposits at Aberdaron, western Lleyn, North Wales: palaeoenvironmental implications. J. Quat. Sci. 7, 311–317. Ballantyne, C.K., McCarroll, D., Nesje, A., Dahl, S.O., Stone, J.O., 1998. The last ice sheet in north-west Scotland: reconstruction and implications. Quat. Sci. Rev. 17, 1149–1184. Brooks, A.J., Edwards, R.J., submitted for publication. Developing a sea-level database for Ireland. Ir. J. Earth Sci. Carter, R.W.G., 1982. Sea-level changes in Northern Ireland. Proc. Geol. Assoc. 93, 7–23. Chiverrell, R.C., Thomas, G.S.P., Long, D., Roberts, D.H., 2001. Quaternary. In: Chadwick, R.A., Jackson, D.I., Barnes, R.P., Kimbell, G.S., Johnson, H., Chiverrell, R.C., Thomas, G.S.P., Jones, N.S., Riley, N.J., Pickett, E.A., Young, B., Holliday, D.W., Ball, D.F., Molyneux, S.G., Long, D., Power, G.M., Roberts, D.H. (Eds.), Geology of the Isle of Man and its offshore area. British Geological Survey Research Report RR/01/06. Nottingham, Keyworth. Clark, P.U., McCabe, A.M., Mix, A.C.,Weaver, A.J., 2004. Rapid rise of sea level 19,000 years ago and its global implications. Science 304, 1141–1144. Cooper, J.A.G., Kelley, J.T., Belknap, D.F., Quinn, R., McKenna, J., 2002. Inner shelf seismic stratigraphy off the north coast of Northern Ireland: new data on the depth of the Holocene lowstand. Mar. Geol. 186, 369–387. Cooper, J.A.G., Jackson, D.W.T., Navas, F., McKenna, J., Malvarez, G., 2004. Identifying storm impacts on an embayed, high-energy coastline: examples from western Ireland. Mar. Geol. 210, 261–280. Dackombe, R.V., Thomas, G.S.P., 1985. Field Guide to the Quaternary of the Isle of Man. Cambridge, QRA. Eyles, C.H., Eyles, N., 1984. Glaciomarine sediments on the Isle of Man as a key to late Pleistocene stratigraphic investigations in the Irish Sea Basin. Geology 12, 359–364. Eyles, N., McCabe, A.M., 1989. The Late Devensian (<22,000 BP) Irish Sea Basin: the sedimentary record of a collapsed ice sheet margin. Quat. Sci. Rev. 8, 307–351. Glasser, N.F., Sambrook Smith, G.H., 1999. Glacial meltwater erosion of the mid-Cheshire ridge: implications for ice dynamics during the Late Devensian glaciation of northwest England. J. Quat. Sci. 14, 703–710. Gonzalez, S., Innes, J.B., Huddart, D., Davey, P.J., Plater, A.J., 2000. Holocene coastal change in the north of the Isle of Man: stratigraphy, palaeoenvironment and archaeological evidence. In: Pye, K., Allen, J.R.L. (Eds.), Coastal and Estuarine Environments: Sedimentology, Geomorphology and Geoarchaeology: Geological Society Special Publications, vol. 175, pp. 343–363. Hambrey, M.J., Davies, J.R., Glasser, N.F.,Waters, R.A., Dowdeswell, J.A., Wilby, P.R., Wilson, D., Etienne, J.L., 2001. Devensian glacigenic sedimentation and landscape evolution in the Cardigan area of southwest Wales. J. Quat. Sci. 16, 455–479. Haynes, J.R., McCabe, A.M., Eyles, N., 1995. Microfaunas from Late Devensian glaciomarine deposits in the Irish Sea Basin. Ir. J. Earth Sci. 14, 81–103. Horton, B.P., Edwards, R.J., Lloyd, J.M., 2000. Implications of a microfossil transfer function in Holocene sea-level studies. In: Shennan, I., Andrews, J.E. (Eds.), Holocene Land–Ocean Interaction and Environmental Change around the Western North Sea: Geological Society Special Publication, vol. 166, pp. 41–54. Joachim, M.J., 1979. Late glacial coleopteran assemblages from the west coast of the Isle of Man. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Birmingham. Lamb, A.L., Ballantyne, C.K., 1998. Palaeonunataks and the altitude of the last ice sheet in the SW Lake District, England. Proc. Geol. Assoc. 109, 305–316. Lambeck, K., 1995. Late Devensian and Holocene shorelines of the British Isles and North Sea from models of glacio-hydro-isostatic rebound. J. Geol. Soc. (Lond.) 152, 437–448. Lambeck, K., 1996. Glaciation and sea-level change for Ireland and the Irish Sea since Late Devensian time. J. Geol. Soc. (Lond.) 153, 853–872. Lambeck, K., 1998. On the choice of timescale in glacial rebound modelling: mantle viscosity estimates and the radiocarbon timescale. Geophys. J. Int. 134, 647–651. Lamplugh, G.W., 1903. The Geology of the Isle of Man. Memoir of the Geological Survey of England and Wales. Lloyd, J., Shennan, I., Green, F., Kirby, J., Rutherford, M., 1999. Holocene relative sea-level changes in the inner Solway Firth. Quat. Int. 60, 83–105. McCabe, A.M., 1997. Geological constraints on geophysical models of relative sea-level change during deglaciation of the Western Irish Sea. J. Geol. Soc. (Lond.) 154, 601–604. McCabe, A.M., Clark, P.U., 1998. Ice sheet variability around the North Atlantic Ocean during the last deglaciation. Nature 392, 373–377. McCabe, A.M., Knight, J., McCarron, S.G., 1998. Evidence for Heinrich Event 1 in the British Isles. J. Quat. Sci. 13, 549–568. McCabe, A.M., Clark, P.U., Clark, J., 2005. AMS 14C dating of deglacial events in the Irish Sea Basin and other sectors of the British-Irish ice sheet. Quat. Sci. Rev. 24, 1673–1690. McCarroll, D., 2001. Deglaciation of the Irish Sea Basin: a critique of the glaciomarine hypothesis. J. Quat. Sci. 16, 393-40. Moore, P.D., Webb, J.A., Collinson, M.E., 1991. Pollen Analysis. Blackwell, London. Orford, J.D., Murdy, J.M., Wintle, A.G., 2003. Prograded Holocene beach ridges with superimposed dunes in north-east Ireland:mechanisms and timescales of fine and coarse beach sediment decoupling and deposition. Mar. Geol. 194, 47–64. Pantin, H.M., 1977. Quaternary sediments of the northern Irish Sea. In: Kidson, C., Tooley, M.J. (Eds.), The Quaternary History of the Irish Sea: Geological Journal Special Issue, vol. 7, pp. 27–54. Pantin, H.M., 1978. Quaternary sediments from the north-east Irish Sea: Isle of Man to Cumbria. Bull. Geol. Surv. G. B. 64. Peltier, W.R., Shennan, I., Drummond, R., Horton, B.P., 2002. On the postglacial isostatic adjustment of the British Isles and the shallow viscoelastic structure of the Earth. Geophys. J. Int. 148, 443–475. Penney, D., 1983. Post glacial sediments and foraminifera at Dundalk, Ireland. Unpublished PhD thesis, Trinity College Dublin. Phillips, B.A.M., 1969. Cliff and shore platform development in the Isle of Man, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Wales. Scourse, J.D., Furze, M.F.A., 2001. A critical review of the glaciomarine model for Irish Sea deglaciation: evidence from southern Britain, the Celtic shelf and adjacent continental slope. J. Quat. Sci. 16, 419–434. Shennan, I., 1986. Flandrian sea-level changes in the Fenland II. Tendencies of sea-level movement, altitudinal changes and local and regional factors. J. Quat. Sci. 1, 155–179. Shennan, I., Horton, B.P., 2002. Holocene land- and sea-level changes in Great Britain. J. Quat. Sci. 17, 511–526. Shennan, I., Peltier, W.R., Drummond, R., Horton, B.P., 2002. Global to local scale parameters determining relative sea-level changes and the post-glacial isostatic adjustment of Great Britain. Quat. Sci. Rev. 21, 397–408. Shotton, F.W., Williams, R.E.G., 1971. Birmingham University Radiocarbon Dates V. Radiocarbon 12, 385–399. Smith, D.E., Haggart, B.A., Cullingford, R.A., Tipping, R.M., Wells, J.M., Mighall, T.M., Dawson, S., 2003a. Holocene relative sealevel change in the lower Nith valley and estuary. Scott. J. Geol. 39, 97–120. Smith, D.E., Wells, J.M., Mighall, T.M., Cullingford, R.A., Holloway, L.K., Dawson, S., Brooks, C.L., 2003b. Holocene relative sea levels and coastal changes in the lower Cree valley and estuary, SW Scotland, U.K. Trans. R. Soc. Edinb. Earth Sci. 93, 301–331. Stuiver, M., Reimer, P.J., Reimer, R.W., 2005. CALIB 5.0.2 [Program and documentation]. http://www.calib.qub.ac.uk/. Thomas, G.S.P., 1976. The Quaternary stratigraphy of the Isle of Man. Proc. Geol. Assoc. 87, 307–323. Thomas, G.S.P., 1985. The Quaternary of the northern Irish Sea. In: Johnson, R.H. (Ed.), The Geomorphology of Northwest England. InManchester Universiy Press, pp. 143–158. Thomas, G.S.P., Chiverrell, R.C., Huddart, D., 2004. Ice-marginal depositional responses to probable Heinrich events in the Devensian deglaciation of the Isle of Man. Quat. Sci. Rev. 23, 85–106. Tooley, M.J., 1974. Sea level changes during the last 9000 years in N. W. England. Geogr. J. 140, 18–42. Tooley, M.J., 1977. The Isle of Man, Lancashire coast and Lake District. Field Guide for Excursion A4, X INQUA Congress. Tooley, M.J., 1978. Sea Level Changes: North-west England during the Flandrian Stage. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Tooley, M.J., 1985. Sea-level changes and coastal morphology in north-west England. In: Johnson, R.J. (Ed.), The Geomorphology of North-west England. Manchester University Press, Manchester, pp. 94–121. Troels-Smith, J., 1955. Karakterisaring af Løse jordarter. Danmarks Geologiska Undersoegelsa IV Reakke, Bd 3, 73. Van De Plassche, O., 1986. Sea-level Research: a Manual for the Collection and Evaluation of Data. InGeo Books, Norwich, p. 618. Zong, Y., 1998. Diatom records and sedimentary responses to sea-level change during the last 8000 years in Roudsea Wood, northwest England. Holocene 8 (2), 19–228. Zong, Y., Tooley, M.J., 1996. Holocene sea-level changes and crustal movements in Morecambe Bay, northwest England. J. Quat. Sci. 11, 43–58.

Department of Geography