INQUA Congress 2019: The Nature and Timing of the ‘Younger Dryas’ Glaciation of Scotland

Date: 19th – 23rd July 2019
Leader: Dr Adrian Palmer & Professor John Lowe
Contact email: a.palmer@rhul.ac.uk
Guide price: £570 (including accommodation and all other expenses, excluding all meals except for one night)
Link for further information and booking not yet open

INQUA Congress 2019: The Nature and Timing of the ‘Younger Dryas’ Glaciation of Scotland

Date: 19th – 23rd July 2019
Leader: Dr Adrian Palmer & Professor John Lowe
Contact email: a.palmer@rhul.ac.uk
Guide price: £570 (including accommodation and all other expenses, excluding all meals except for one night)
Link for further information and booking not yet open




This four-day field trip will tour the southern, central and eastern Grampian Mountains, home of the West Highland icefield, the largest ice mass to develop in Scotland during the Loch Lomond (‘Younger Dryas’) Readvance (LLR).  The drive will provide magnificent views while revealing the range of glacigenic landforms that allow the dynamics and limits of the former glaciers to be reconstructed. En route, key sites will be visited that provide secure ages for the timing of the maximal limits of the LLR glaciers. Day 1 will start on the southern shores of Loch Lomond, the type area for the LLR, where several lines of evidence allow the timing of events to be established quite precisely. From there, we will travel through the heart of the West Highlands, along the former ice shed of the LLR icefield, reaching the Rannoch Moor plateau, a major ice source region, followed by a descent through majestic Glen Coe. Day 2 will focus first on a suite of terminal glacial features near the mouth of Loch Etive, and then on the Main Rock Platform, a pronounced raised marine platform that is widely developed along the western seaboard of Scotland.  Day 3 is devoted to the classic features of Glen Roy, famed for the ‘Parallel Roads’, distinctive shorelines marking the outlines of former ice-dammed lakes. Here we will illustrate how these shorelines and associated glaciolacustrine varves provide important isochrons for establishing a detailed sequence of events during the LLR.  We will see landforms examined by Darwin and Agassiz in 1839-40, which proved pivotal in early debates concerning the controversial ‘Glacial Theory’.  On Day 4 we will drive through the eastern Grampians, where the LLR landforms are starkly different to those previously visited, then examine lake sediments of Lateglacial age, and finally drive south, beyond the LLR ice limits, to view suites of glaciofluvial landforms deposited by the Late Devensian ice sheet, en route to our final destination in Glasgow.