Quaternary Sea Level Change in Scotland

David Smith, Natasha Barlow, Sarah Bradley, Callum Firth, Adrian Hall, Jason Jordan, David Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper summarises developments in understanding sea level change during the Quaternary in Scotland since the publication of the Geological Conservation Review volume Quaternary of Scotland in 1993. We present a review of progress in methodology, particularly in the study of sediments in isolation basins and estuaries as well as in techniques in the field and laboratory, which have together disclosed greater detail in the record of relative sea level (RSL) change than was available in 1993. However, progress in determining the record of RSL change varies in different areas. Studies of sediments and stratigraphy offshore on the continental shelf have increased greatly, but the record of RSL change there remains patchy. Studies onshore have resulted in improvements in the
knowledge of rock shorelines, including the processes by which they are formed, but much remains to be understood. Studies of Late Devensian and Holocene RSLs around present coasts have improved knowledge of both the extent and age range of the evidence. The record of RSL change on the W and NW coasts has disclosed a much longer dated RSL record than was available before 1993, possibly with evidence of Meltwater Pulse 1A, while studies in estuaries on the E and SW coasts have disclosed widespread and consistent fluctuations in Holocene RSLs. Evidence for the meltwater pulse associated with the Early Holocene discharge of Lakes Agassiz-Ojibway in N America has been found on both E and W coasts. The effects of the impact of storminess, in particular in cliff-top storm deposits, have been widely identified. Further information on the Holocene Storegga Slide tsunami has enabled a better understanding of the event but evidence for other tsunami events on Scottish coasts remains uncertain. Methodological developments have led to new reconstructions of RSL
change for the last 2000 years, utilising state-of-the-art GIA models and alongside coastal biostratigraphy to determine trends to compare with modern tide gauge and documentary evidence. Developments in GIA modelling have provided valuable information on patterns of land uplift during and following deglaciation. The studies undertaken raise a number of research questions which will require addressing in future work.
LanguageEnglish
Pages(in press)
JournalEarth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
Volume(in press)
Early online date23 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2018

Fingerprint

sea level change
Holocene
coast
meltwater
estuary
tsunami event
storm deposit
Devensian
tide gauge
deglaciation
cliff
biostratigraphy
tsunami
sediment
continental shelf
shoreline
stratigraphy
uplift
sea level
methodology

Keywords

  • Carseland
  • continental shelf
  • glacial isostatic adjustment
  • isolation basin
  • relative sea level
  • rock shoreline
  • storms
  • tsunamis

Cite this

Quaternary Sea Level Change in Scotland. / Smith, David; Barlow, Natasha; Bradley, Sarah; Firth, Callum; Hall, Adrian; Jordan, Jason; Long, David.

In: Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol. (in press), 23.01.2018, p. (in press).

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Smith, David ; Barlow, Natasha ; Bradley, Sarah ; Firth, Callum ; Hall, Adrian ; Jordan, Jason ; Long, David. / Quaternary Sea Level Change in Scotland. In: Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 2018 ; Vol. (in press). pp. (in press).
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