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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Livingstone, S., Roberts, D.H., Davies, B., Evans, D., Ó Cofaigh, C. & Gheorghiu, D. Late Devensian deglaciation of the Tyne Gap Palaeo-Ice Stream, northern England. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2015;30:790-804.

Author(s) from Durham


The deglacial history of the central sector of the last British–Irish Ice Sheet is poorly constrained, particularly along major ice-stream flow paths. The Tyne Gap Palaeo-Ice Stream (TGIS) was a major fast-flow conduit of the British–Irish Ice Sheet during the last glaciation. We reconstruct the pattern and constrain the timing of retreat of this ice stream using cosmogenic radionuclide (10Be) dating of exposed bedrock surfaces, radiocarbon dating of lake cores and geomorphological mapping of deglacial features. Four of the five 10Be samples produced minimum ages between 17.8 and 16.5 ka. These were supplemented by a basal radiocarbon date of 15.7 ± 0.1 cal ka BP, in a core recovered from Talkin Tarn in the Brampton Kame Belt. Our new geochronology indicates progressive retreat of the TGIS from 18.7 to 17.1 ka, and becoming ice free before 16.4–15.7 ka. Initial retreat and decoupling of the TGIS from the North Sea Lobe is recorded by a prominent moraine 10–15 km inland of the present-day coast. This constrains the damming of Glacial Lake Wear to a period before ∼18.7–17.1 ka in the area deglaciated by the contraction of the TGIS. We suggest that retreat of the TGIS was part of a regional collapse of ice-dispersal centres between 18 and 16 ka.

Department of Geography