Mid-Devensian climate and landscape in England: new data from Finningley, South Yorkshire

Philip I. Buckland, M. D. Bateman, O. Bennike, Paul C. Buckland, Brian Chase, Charles Frederick, Julian Murton, Della Murton, Eva Panagiotakopulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While there is extensive evidence for the Late Devensian, less is known about Early and Middle Devensian (approx. 110–30 ka) climates and environments in the UK. The Greenland ice-core record suggests the UK should have endured multiple changes, but the terrestrial palaeo-record lacks sufficient detail for confirmation from sites in the British Isles. Data from deposits at Finningley, South Yorkshire, can help redress this. A channel with organic silts, dated 40 314–39 552 cal a BP, contained plant macrofossil and insect remains showing tundra with dwarf-shrub heath and bare ground. Soil moisture conditions varied from free draining to riparian, with ponds and wetter vegetated areas. The climate was probably low arctic with snow cover during the winter. Mutual climatic range (MCR), based on Coleoptera, shows the mean monthly winter temperatures of −22 to −2°C and summer ones of 8–14°C. Periglacial structures within the basal gravel deposits and beyond the glacial limits indicate cold-climate conditions, including permafrost. A compilation of MCR reconstructions for other Middle Devensian English sites shows that marine isotope stage 3—between 59 and 28 ka—experienced substantial variation in climate consistent with the Greenland ice-core record. The exact correlation is hampered by temporal resolution, but the Finningley site stadial at approximately 40 ka may correlate with the one of the Greenland stadials 7–11.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2019


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