Uncovering the glacial history of the Irish continental shelf (Invited)

Dunlop, P. (Speaker), Benetti, S. (Speaker), Colm O'Cofaigh (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Description

In 1999 the Irish Government initiated a €32 million survey of its territorial waters known as the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS). The INSS is amongst the largest marine mapping programmes ever undertaken anywhere in the world and provides high-resolution multibeam, backscatter and seismic data of the seabed around Ireland. These data have been used to provide the first clear evidence for extensive glaciation of the continental shelf west and northwest of Ireland. Streamlined drumlins on the mid to outer shelf record former offshore-directed ice flow towards the shelf edge and show that the ice sheet was grounded in a zone of confluence where ice flowing onto the shelf from northwest Ireland merged with ice flowing across the Malin Shelf from southwest Scotland. The major glacial features on the shelf are well developed nested arcuate moraine systems that mark the position of the ice sheet margin and confirm that the former British Irish Ice Sheet was grounded as far as the shelf edge around 100 km offshore of west Donegal at the last glacial maximum. Distal to the moraines, on the outermost shelf, prominent zones of iceberg plough marks give way to the Barra/Donegal fan and a well developed system of gullies and canyons which incise the continental slope. Since 2008 several scientific cruises have retrieved cores from the shelf and slope to help build a more detailed understanding of glacial events in this region. This presentation will provide an overview of the glacial history of the Irish shelf and will discuss ongoing research programmes that are building on the initial research findings to produce a better understanding of the nature and timing of ice sheet events in this region.
Period9 Dec 2013 - 13 Dec 2013
Held atAmerican Geophysical Union
Event typeConference
LocationSan Francisco, United States, California
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Keywords

  • British Irish Ice Sheet
  • Continental shelf
  • glaciation
  • moraines