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On the timing of retreat of the Loch Lomond ('Younger Dryas') Readvance icefield in the SW Scottish Highlands and its wider significance

On the timing of retreat of the Loch Lomond ('Younger Dryas') Readvance icefield in the SW Scottish Highlands and its wider significance
On the timing of retreat of the Loch Lomond ('Younger Dryas') Readvance icefield in the SW Scottish Highlands and its wider significance
Highlands, the Loch Lomond Readvance (LLR), resulted from a cold reversal that was broadly coeval with the ‘Younger Dryas’ episode. This view has recently been challenged, with the suggestion that glacier ice had disappeared from Rannoch Moor, one of the main ice accumulation centres in the SW Scottish Highlands, by as early as 12.5 ka, i.e. within the first half of the ‘Younger Dryas’. Here we present new radiocarbon, tephrostratigraphical and pollen-stratigraphical evidence from one of the key sites on Rannoch Moor, the results of an experiment designed to test this hypothesis. Our results not only contradict that concept, but are fully compatible with other evidence from the SW Scottish Highlands that suggests that the LLR glaciers in this area continued to expand until towards the end of the ‘Younger Dryas’ period, and may have persisted in some places after the onset of the Holocene. We consider the possible reasons for this marked divergence in chronology, a matter that is crucial to resolve because the precise timing of the demise of the LLR glaciers has important palaeoclimatic and other implications. In the wider context, we also draw attention to problems with the general use of the term ‘Younger Dryas’ and why we regard the Greenland stratotype unit and term ‘Greenland Stadial 1’ (GS-1) a more secure stratigraphic comparator.
0277-3791
171-186
Lowe, John
2165f2a6-960b-4753-a4e7-929d7a712cf0
Matthews, Ian
3cc6e23b-692f-4153-b67a-db41dde454cb
Mayfield, Roseanna, Jane
791d3e42-f345-42b1-b5c0-b6940f2beff6
Lincoln, Paul
c751e6ae-aa6b-4d5f-a7f4-746a5936a384
Palmer, Adrian
a85d0710-8a02-4eb7-bbea-52358f74beb3
Staff, Richard
61a5547e-7755-4cab-b2b9-dfcf4038a47c
Timms, Rhys
ddfb1382-fbf9-4aee-a335-36a86f5c8987
Lowe, John
2165f2a6-960b-4753-a4e7-929d7a712cf0
Matthews, Ian
3cc6e23b-692f-4153-b67a-db41dde454cb
Mayfield, Roseanna, Jane
791d3e42-f345-42b1-b5c0-b6940f2beff6
Lincoln, Paul
c751e6ae-aa6b-4d5f-a7f4-746a5936a384
Palmer, Adrian
a85d0710-8a02-4eb7-bbea-52358f74beb3
Staff, Richard
61a5547e-7755-4cab-b2b9-dfcf4038a47c
Timms, Rhys
ddfb1382-fbf9-4aee-a335-36a86f5c8987

Lowe, John, Matthews, Ian, Mayfield, Roseanna, Jane, Lincoln, Paul, Palmer, Adrian, Staff, Richard and Timms, Rhys (2019) On the timing of retreat of the Loch Lomond ('Younger Dryas') Readvance icefield in the SW Scottish Highlands and its wider significance. Quaternary Science Reviews, 219, 171-186. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.06.034).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Highlands, the Loch Lomond Readvance (LLR), resulted from a cold reversal that was broadly coeval with the ‘Younger Dryas’ episode. This view has recently been challenged, with the suggestion that glacier ice had disappeared from Rannoch Moor, one of the main ice accumulation centres in the SW Scottish Highlands, by as early as 12.5 ka, i.e. within the first half of the ‘Younger Dryas’. Here we present new radiocarbon, tephrostratigraphical and pollen-stratigraphical evidence from one of the key sites on Rannoch Moor, the results of an experiment designed to test this hypothesis. Our results not only contradict that concept, but are fully compatible with other evidence from the SW Scottish Highlands that suggests that the LLR glaciers in this area continued to expand until towards the end of the ‘Younger Dryas’ period, and may have persisted in some places after the onset of the Holocene. We consider the possible reasons for this marked divergence in chronology, a matter that is crucial to resolve because the precise timing of the demise of the LLR glaciers has important palaeoclimatic and other implications. In the wider context, we also draw attention to problems with the general use of the term ‘Younger Dryas’ and why we regard the Greenland stratotype unit and term ‘Greenland Stadial 1’ (GS-1) a more secure stratigraphic comparator.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 27 June 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 20 July 2019
Published date: 1 September 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 439437
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/439437
ISSN: 0277-3791
PURE UUID: e5b91fa1-3493-4a75-bcf1-49b45f6cb8a5

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Date deposited: 22 Apr 2020 17:02
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 18:33

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Contributors

Author: John Lowe
Author: Ian Matthews
Author: Roseanna, Jane Mayfield
Author: Paul Lincoln
Author: Adrian Palmer
Author: Richard Staff
Author: Rhys Timms

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