The Quaternary in Scotland

Colin K. Ballantyne, Adrian M. Hall, Alastair G. Dawson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

The QuaternaryQuaternary Period in Scotland was characterized by major climatic shifts and the alternation of glacial and temperate conditions over a wide range of timescales. The extent of multiple glaciations prior to the Mid-Pleistocene TransitionMid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT) (1.25–0.70 Ma) is uncertain, but thereafter up to ten major episodes of ice-sheet expansion occurred. Glacial erosion by successive glaciers and ice sheetsIce sheets created a range of terrain types: glaciated mountains, zones of areal scouring, landscapes of selective linear erosion, drift-mantled terrain of differential erosionDifferential erosion and areas of limited glacial modification. TheLast ice sheet last ice sheetIce sheets (~35–14 ka) extended to the shelf edge in the west and was confluent with the Fennoscandian Ice SheetFennoscandian Ice Sheet in the North Sea BasinNorth Sea Basin; during its existence, it experienced marked changes in configuration, in part driven by the development of major ice streamsIce streams. Subsequent glaciation during the Loch LomondLochLomond Stade (~12.9–11.7 ka) was restricted to a major icefieldIcefields in the western Highlands and smaller glaciers in peripheral mountain areas. Contrasting glacial landsystemsGlacial landsystems occupy terrain inside and outside the limits of the Loch LomondLochLomond Stadial glaciers. Postglacial landscape changes have been characterized by LateglacialLateglacial periglaciation and paraglacial landscape modification, mainly in the form of rock-slope failure and the accumulation (then later erosion) of paraglacial sediment stores and incision and terracing of glacigenic valley fillsValley fills. Shore platforms of various ages formed around rock coastlines during the QuaternaryQuaternary, glacio-isostatic upliftGlacio-isostatic uplift has resulted in the formation of LateglacialLateglacial and HoloceneHolocene raised beaches, and reworking of glacigenic depositsGlacigenic deposits has provided sediments for present-day beach and dune systems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandscapes and Landforms of Scotland
EditorsColin K. Ballantyne, John E. Gordon
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing Switzerland
Number of pages44
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-71246-4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'The Quaternary in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this