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Plucking enhanced beneath ice sheet margins: evidence from the Grampian Mountains, Scotland
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Number of Authors: 42019 (English)In: Geografiska Annaler. Series A, Physical Geography, ISSN 0435-3676, E-ISSN 1468-0459, Vol. 101, no 1, p. 34-44Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Concentrations of boulders are a common feature of landscapes modified by former mid-latitude ice sheets. In many cases, the origin of the boulders can be traced in the up-ice direction to a cliff only tens to hundreds of metres distant. The implication is that a pulse of plucking and short boulder transport occurred beneath thin ice at the end of the last glacial cycle. Here we use a case study in granite bedrock in the Dee Valley, Scotland, to constrain theory and explore the factors involved in such a late phase of plucking. Plucking is influenced by ice velocity, hydrology, effective ice pressure, the extent of subglacial cavities and bedrock characteristics. The balance between these factors favours block removal beneath thin ice near a glacier margin. At Ripe Hill in the Dee Valley, a mean exposure age of 14.2 ka on blocks supports the view that the boulder train formed at the end of ice sheet glaciation. The late pulse of plucking was further enhanced by ice flowing obliquely across vertical joints and by fluctuations in sub-marginal meltwater conditions. An implication of the study is that there is the potential for a wave of ice-marginal plucking to sweep across a landscape as an ice sheet retreats.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 101, no 1, p. 34-44
Keywords [en]
Glacial erosion, plucking, ice sheets, Pleistocene
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166599DOI: 10.1080/04353676.2018.1539829ISI: 000457418400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-166599DiVA, id: diva2:1300706
Available from: 2019-03-29 Created: 2019-03-29 Last updated: 2019-03-29Bibliographically approved

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