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Maximum extent and dynamic behaviour of the last British–Irish Ice Sheet west of Ireland.

Peters, J.L. and Benetti, S. and Dunlop, P. and Ó Cofaigh, C. (2015) 'Maximum extent and dynamic behaviour of the last British–Irish Ice Sheet west of Ireland.', Quaternary science reviews., 128 . pp. 48-68.


A complete reconstruction of the last British–Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) is hindered by uncertainty surrounding its offshore extent and dynamic behaviour. This study addresses this problem by reconstructing the depositional history of four sediment cores taken from a series of sinuous glacigenic sediment ridges on the continental shelf west of Ireland. We present new geomorphic, sedimentary and micropaleontological data that record a maximum westward BIIS extent that was at least 80 km farther offshore from any previous estimates. The data suggests that a large ice shelf formed over parts of the shelf prior to retreat. This new data increases the areal extent of grounded BIIS ice by ∼6700 km2 from previous estimates, which represents a ∼3% increase in the Irish Sector of the ice sheet. Three new AMS radiocarbon dates demonstrate for the first time that the BIIS advanced to the shelf edge during last glaciation (Late Midlandian/Late Devensian), with ice advance onto the Porcupine Bank occurring after 24,720 ± 260 yr Cal. BP. Deglaciation was complete by 19,182 ± 155 yr Cal. BP, thus constraining BIIS occupation over the Porcupine Bank to less than 5500 years. Estimated retreat rates of marine-terminating ice across the shelf range from ∼70 to 180 myr−1.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:British–Irish Ice Sheet, Marine-terminating ice margin, Maximum extent, Porcupine Bank, Continental shelf, Ice shelf, Radiocarbon, Sedimentology, Benthic foraminifera, Geomorphology.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2015 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:14 September 2015
Date deposited:19 October 2015
Date of first online publication:November 2015
Date first made open access:29 September 2016

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