A Late Pleistocene intertidal boulder pavement from an isostatically emergent coast, Dundalk Bay, eastern Ireland

AM McCabe, JR Haynes

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    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Late Pleistocene sequences around Dundalk Bay, eastern Ireland, record glaciomarine sedimentation near the margin of a grounded ice lobe around 15 ka sp. A coastal exposure at Cooley Point consists of four major facies deposited outside this ice limit. (1) A basal mud facies deposited from sediment plumes accumulated following the initial ice marginal retreat inland. It contains a well-preserved Arctic microfauna dominated by the foram Elphidium clavatum and the ostracod Roundstonia globulifera. (2) A flat to undulating boulder facies (pavement), mostly one clast thick, is found pressed into the mud and is characterized by bevelled and striated upper clast surfaces. Pavement attributes are a result of intertidal activity in a cold climate. The boulder source is due to rafting by ice flees from glacigenic debris deposited during an ice advance. (3) Laminated sand facies drape the pavement and are a result of variable current activity. (4) The overlying gravel facies is separated from the sand facies by a marine erosion surface. The gravel facies is subaqueous, channelized and is overlain by late glacial raised beach ridges. Locally the gravels have been deformed by ice pressure from partially floating ice flees. Facies changes record terrestrial submergence and provide evidence for changes in relative sea level during part of the last deglacial cycle. The boulder pavement and deformed gravel facies suggest that ice flees and sea ice effects may be more common within stratigraphies along emergent coasts than previously thought, though they have a low preservation potential. Extreme conditions during the deglacial favoured opportunistic microfaunas during mud deposition. This event may be related to a major meltwater event within the Irish Sea Basin.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)555-572
    JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jun 1996


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