Dr Tom Bradwell, BGS Edinburgh
Recent advances in geological data acquisition onshore and offshore, combined with the increased complexity and power of coupled ice-sheet-ocean-climate models have resulted in a better understanding of Pleistocene ice sheets. These advances have revised ideas of a largely terrestrial, relatively small, British Ice Sheet to a much larger ice sheet covering around 75% of the British Isles, the continental shelves and most of the North Sea Basin at its maximum. More importantly, perhaps, is the recent identification of ice streams – large transient fast-flow corridors – within the last British Ice Sheet. Ice streams are prone to non-linear behaviour and are responsible for governing the large-scale geometry of ice sheets. In this talk I will outline the onshore and offshore glacial geomorphology of Northern Scotland, focusing on the evidence for ice streaming. These findings are then used to elucidate the pattern and style of British Ice Sheet retreat from the UK continental shelf edge back to the Highlands of northern Scotland. Aspects of this work are still in progress; however, these new results form an exciting, controversial, new interpretation of events in Scotland at the close of the last glaciation.