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Maximum extent and readvance dynamics of the Irish Sea Ice Stream since the Last Glacial Maximum

Abstract : The Irish Sea Ice Stream (ISIS) has long had one of the best documented retreat histories of the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) and was the first ice stream to be constrained by Bayesian analysis of geochronological data. These attributes made it a model system for the BRITICE-CHRONO research project, which aims to produce the best constrained retreat record of any palaeo-ice sheet contributing key observational constraints for ice sheet modelling. The project has generated a suite of new radiocarbon ages from deglacial sequences offshore in the Celtic and Irish seas and terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide and optically-stimulated luminescence ages from ice-marginal sites in the Isles of Scilly, Ireland, Wales and NW England. The ISIS was unusual within the former BIIS, in that it was a compound ice stream with two outlets, one marine terminating that flowed through the Irish Sea Basin into the Celtic Sea, and a terrestrial terminus that flowed southwards through Cheshire-Shropshire lowlands into the English Midlands around 25.5 ka. Here we assess the retreat dynamics across the entirety of the ISIS, integrating the new chronology in a revised Bayesian analysis that constrains the pattern and timing ice marginal fluctuations. The retreat chronology in the Irish Sea is better constrained than in the Celtic Sea, where the ISIS is now recognised to have extended as far as the continental shelf break to the SW of Britain and Ireland between 24 and 27 ka; this advance was synchronous with independently-dated ice-rafted detritus from ISIS in adjacent deep-sea cores. The ISIS then retreated rapidly northwards through the Celtic Sea, with evidence for readvance phases, deglaciating the Isles of Scilly at 25.5 ka, reaching St Georges Channel by 24.3 ka and the Llŷn Peninsula by 23.9 ka. The initiation of retreat from both the eastern (terrestrial) and western (marine) components of ISIS was synchronous. The eastern terrestrial lobe had vacated the Cheshire-Shropshire lowlands by 22-21 ka. The complex readvance sequences identified on the Llŷn (24-20ka) and in eastern Ireland have now been tightly constrained to register centennial-scale oscillations of the ice front driven by internal ice dynamics over topographic pinning points and constrictions of the ice-stream. Retreat northwards into the northern Irish Sea then accelerated, first evacuating the deeper water of the western Irish Sea, and developing pronounced ice margins across the northern Isle of Man by 19.1 ka. The final retreat phase, with ice margins pulling back onto terrestrial settings in the English Lake District, the north of Ireland and SW Scotland around 17 ka, was a deglaciation accomplished in a fully marine context evidenced by the preservation on the seabed of subglacial landforms and by increasing influence of local ice sources with flow realignment during draw-down and ice margin retreat.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 12:12:19 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 5:06:04 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02363231, version 1

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James Scourse, Richard C. Chiverrell, David Small, Rachel Smedley, Alicia Medialdea, et al.. Maximum extent and readvance dynamics of the Irish Sea Ice Stream since the Last Glacial Maximum. INQUA 2019 - 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research, Jul 2019, Dublin, Ireland. pp.abstract O-5128. ⟨hal-02363231⟩

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