Late-Holocene and Younger Dryas glaciers in the northern Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

Martin Kirkbride (Lead / Corresponding author), Jez Everest, Doug Benn, Delia Gheorghiu, Alastair Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We present 17 cosmogenic 10Be ages of glacial deposits in Coire an Lochain (Cairngorm Mountains), which demonstrate that glacial and nival deposits cover a longer timescale than previously recognised. Five ages provide the first evidence of a late-Holocene glacier in the British Isles. A previously unidentified moraine ridge was deposited after c. 2.8 kyr and defines a small slab-like glacier with an equilibrium line altitude (ELA) at c. 1047 m. The late-Holocene glacier was characterised by rapid firnification and a dominance of sliding, enabling the glacier to construct moraine ridges in a relatively short period. Isotopic inheritance means that the glacier may have existed as recently as the ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA) of the 17th or 18th century ad, a view supported by glacier-climate modelling. Nine 10Be ages confirm a Younger Dryas Stadial (YDS) age for a cirque-floor boulder till, and date the glacier maximum to c. 12.3 kyr when the ELA was at c. 963 m altitude. Both glaciers existed because of enhanced accumulation from wind-blown snow, but the difference in ELA of only c. 84 m belies the YDS–LIA temperature difference of c. 7°C and emphasises the glacioclimatic contrast between the two periods. Three 10Be ages from till boulders originally deposited in the YDS yield ages <5.5 kyr and indicate snow-avalanche disturbance of older debris since the mid-Holocene, as climate deteriorated towards marginal glaciation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalThe Holocene
Volume24
Issue number2
Early online date18 Dec 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Fingerprint

Younger Dryas
glacier
Holocene
mountain
equilibrium line
moraine
snow avalanche
cirque
Scotland
Late Holocene
Mountains
Glacier
Little Ice Age
glacial deposit
boulder
sliding
glaciation
slab
climate modeling
snow

Keywords

  • beryllium 10
  • Cairngorm Mountains
  • cosmogenic dating
  • glacier reconstruction
  • 'Little Ice Age'
  • Younger Dryas

Cite this

Kirkbride, Martin ; Everest, Jez ; Benn, Doug ; Gheorghiu, Delia ; Dawson, Alastair. / Late-Holocene and Younger Dryas glaciers in the northern Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. In: The Holocene. 2014 ; Vol. 24, No. 2. pp. 141-148.
@article{36419892e20148a1bf6c45940adde7e3,
title = "Late-Holocene and Younger Dryas glaciers in the northern Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland",
abstract = "We present 17 cosmogenic 10Be ages of glacial deposits in Coire an Lochain (Cairngorm Mountains), which demonstrate that glacial and nival deposits cover a longer timescale than previously recognised. Five ages provide the first evidence of a late-Holocene glacier in the British Isles. A previously unidentified moraine ridge was deposited after c. 2.8 kyr and defines a small slab-like glacier with an equilibrium line altitude (ELA) at c. 1047 m. The late-Holocene glacier was characterised by rapid firnification and a dominance of sliding, enabling the glacier to construct moraine ridges in a relatively short period. Isotopic inheritance means that the glacier may have existed as recently as the ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA) of the 17th or 18th century ad, a view supported by glacier-climate modelling. Nine 10Be ages confirm a Younger Dryas Stadial (YDS) age for a cirque-floor boulder till, and date the glacier maximum to c. 12.3 kyr when the ELA was at c. 963 m altitude. Both glaciers existed because of enhanced accumulation from wind-blown snow, but the difference in ELA of only c. 84 m belies the YDS–LIA temperature difference of c. 7°C and emphasises the glacioclimatic contrast between the two periods. Three 10Be ages from till boulders originally deposited in the YDS yield ages <5.5 kyr and indicate snow-avalanche disturbance of older debris since the mid-Holocene, as climate deteriorated towards marginal glaciation.",
keywords = "beryllium 10, Cairngorm Mountains, cosmogenic dating, glacier reconstruction, 'Little Ice Age', Younger Dryas",
author = "Martin Kirkbride and Jez Everest and Doug Benn and Delia Gheorghiu and Alastair Dawson",
year = "2014",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1177/0959683613516171",
language = "English",
volume = "24",
pages = "141--148",
journal = "The Holocene",
issn = "0959-6836",
publisher = "SAGE Publications",
number = "2",

}

Late-Holocene and Younger Dryas glaciers in the northern Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. / Kirkbride, Martin (Lead / Corresponding author); Everest, Jez; Benn, Doug; Gheorghiu, Delia; Dawson, Alastair.

In: The Holocene, Vol. 24, No. 2, 02.2014, p. 141-148.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Late-Holocene and Younger Dryas glaciers in the northern Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

AU - Kirkbride, Martin

AU - Everest, Jez

AU - Benn, Doug

AU - Gheorghiu, Delia

AU - Dawson, Alastair

PY - 2014/2

Y1 - 2014/2

N2 - We present 17 cosmogenic 10Be ages of glacial deposits in Coire an Lochain (Cairngorm Mountains), which demonstrate that glacial and nival deposits cover a longer timescale than previously recognised. Five ages provide the first evidence of a late-Holocene glacier in the British Isles. A previously unidentified moraine ridge was deposited after c. 2.8 kyr and defines a small slab-like glacier with an equilibrium line altitude (ELA) at c. 1047 m. The late-Holocene glacier was characterised by rapid firnification and a dominance of sliding, enabling the glacier to construct moraine ridges in a relatively short period. Isotopic inheritance means that the glacier may have existed as recently as the ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA) of the 17th or 18th century ad, a view supported by glacier-climate modelling. Nine 10Be ages confirm a Younger Dryas Stadial (YDS) age for a cirque-floor boulder till, and date the glacier maximum to c. 12.3 kyr when the ELA was at c. 963 m altitude. Both glaciers existed because of enhanced accumulation from wind-blown snow, but the difference in ELA of only c. 84 m belies the YDS–LIA temperature difference of c. 7°C and emphasises the glacioclimatic contrast between the two periods. Three 10Be ages from till boulders originally deposited in the YDS yield ages <5.5 kyr and indicate snow-avalanche disturbance of older debris since the mid-Holocene, as climate deteriorated towards marginal glaciation.

AB - We present 17 cosmogenic 10Be ages of glacial deposits in Coire an Lochain (Cairngorm Mountains), which demonstrate that glacial and nival deposits cover a longer timescale than previously recognised. Five ages provide the first evidence of a late-Holocene glacier in the British Isles. A previously unidentified moraine ridge was deposited after c. 2.8 kyr and defines a small slab-like glacier with an equilibrium line altitude (ELA) at c. 1047 m. The late-Holocene glacier was characterised by rapid firnification and a dominance of sliding, enabling the glacier to construct moraine ridges in a relatively short period. Isotopic inheritance means that the glacier may have existed as recently as the ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA) of the 17th or 18th century ad, a view supported by glacier-climate modelling. Nine 10Be ages confirm a Younger Dryas Stadial (YDS) age for a cirque-floor boulder till, and date the glacier maximum to c. 12.3 kyr when the ELA was at c. 963 m altitude. Both glaciers existed because of enhanced accumulation from wind-blown snow, but the difference in ELA of only c. 84 m belies the YDS–LIA temperature difference of c. 7°C and emphasises the glacioclimatic contrast between the two periods. Three 10Be ages from till boulders originally deposited in the YDS yield ages <5.5 kyr and indicate snow-avalanche disturbance of older debris since the mid-Holocene, as climate deteriorated towards marginal glaciation.

KW - beryllium 10

KW - Cairngorm Mountains

KW - cosmogenic dating

KW - glacier reconstruction

KW - 'Little Ice Age'

KW - Younger Dryas

U2 - 10.1177/0959683613516171

DO - 10.1177/0959683613516171

M3 - Article

VL - 24

SP - 141

EP - 148

JO - The Holocene

JF - The Holocene

SN - 0959-6836

IS - 2

ER -