Lateglacial to early Holocene multiproxy record from Loch Assynt, NW Scotland

Ian Boomer, U von Grafenstein, Andrew Moss

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5 Citations (Scopus)


A core, recovered from a water depth of 53 m in Loch Assynt, North-West Scotland, has yielded a 9 m sequence comprising two distinct units, an upper, organic-rich unit (Unit I, ca. 6 m) overlying a sequence of laminated clays, silts and sands (Unit II, ca. 3 m). The upper unit is essentially Holocene in age based upon three bulk AMS radiocarbon dates while a fourth radiocarbon date from Unit II confirms a late-glacial age for that interval and supports a broadly linear age-depth relationship. Distinct variations in the magnetic susceptibility record of the lower unit can be visually correlated to major changes in the Greenland ice core (GISP2), this together with pollen evidence supports the radiocarbon dating suggesting an age of approximately 11,000 to around 17,000 cal. BP for Unit II, with evidence for the Younger Dryas (Loch Lomond) stadial and the Bolling-Allered climatic phases. Variations in the magnetic susceptibility record of the late-glacial sediments are thought to relate to climatically driven changes in soil cover and erosion rates. The multiproxy record from Loch Assynt indicates relatively continuous, sub-aqueous sedimentation during the last similar to 17,000 years, providing an approximate age for the initiation of modern Loch Assynt and supporting recent dates of moraine retreat lines in the Loanan Valley from about 14-15 ka BP. Pollen and chironomid sampling provides further insights to the history of this relatively deep water body and compliment existing high-resolution palaeo-precipitation records for the mid to late Holocene interval from speleothem archives within the loch catchment. Crown Copyright (C) 2011 The Geologists' Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Geologists' Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012


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