Inherited terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides in landscapes of selective glacial erosion: lessons from Lochnagar, Eastern Grampian Mountains, Scotland

Adrian Hall, David Sugden, Steven Binnie, Andy Hein, Tibor Dunai, Benedikt Ritter, Margaret Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Inheritance from prior exposure often complicates the interpretation of terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) inventories in glaciated terrain. Lochnagar, a mountain in eastern Scotland, holds a clear geomorphological record of corrie glaciation and the thinning of the last Scottish ice sheet over the last ~15 ka. Yet attempts to date the main stages in deglaciation after sampling of 21 granite boulders for 10Be, 26Al and 14C from corrie moraines, an ice sheet lateral moraine and boulder spreads revealed widespread, but variable, TCN inheritance. Only the youngest boulder ages fit within the range of expected deglaciation ages. To identify the sources of geological uncertainty, we provide simple models of ice cover duration and erosion histories for plateau, corrie and strath landscape domains, identify the variable nuclide inheritance that derives from different sources for boulders in these domains, and outline the effects of rotation, splitting and erosion of boulders during glacial transport. The combined effects increase clustering around arbitrary mean TCN values that exceed deglaciation ages. A further implication is that boulders have survived beneath overriding ice sheets. Such boulder trapping at Lochnagar may have resulted from topographic controls on katabatic winds and surface ablation acting on a thinning, cold-based ice sheet.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Early online date28 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • boulder transport
  • cosmogenic nuclide inheritance
  • deglaciation
  • enhanced ablation
  • glacial erosion
  • katabatic winds
  • landscape domains

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