Sedimentary and foraminiferal records of Late Quaternary environmental change west of Ireland and implications for the last British-Irish Ice Sheet

Jared Peters, Sara Benetti, Paul Dunlop, Andrew, J Wheeler

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Palaeoenvironmental change following deglaciation of the last British–Irish Ice Sheet on the continental shelf west of Ireland was investigated using multiproxy analyses of sediment and foraminifera data from nine sediment cores. Lithofacies associations record various depositional regimes across the shelf, which evolve from subglacial to postglacial conditions. Census data provide the first characterisation of benthic foraminifera populations across the continental shelf and multivariate analyses reveal three distinct biotopes. Biomineralization within these biotopes is restricted to ≤21 200 cal a BP by four radiocarbon ages. The transition from glacial to postglacial benthic foraminifera populations near the shelf break marks the establishment of productive, nutrient-rich, ice-distal conditions at ~20 900 cal a BP; these conditions may also mark the start of favourable conditions for postglacial cold-water coral growth. Postglacial conditions on the inner shelf were not established until <14 500 cal a BP, suggesting glacial conditions west of Ireland may have persisted into the Bølling–Allerød Interstadial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-624
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number5
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Grateful thanks to Colm ? Cofaigh for his support during this research, Christian Wilson of Ocean DTM for Olex data-acquisition support, Robin Edwards at Trinity College, Dublin for the use of his MALVERN Mastersizer for grain size analyses and sample processing, and Stephen McCarron at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, for the use of the GEOTEK multi-sensor core logger. Funding for AMS radiocarbon dates was provided by the International Association of Sedimentologists (Postgraduate Research Grant, 1st session, 2014), the UK Natural Environment Research Council grant; BRITICE-CHRONO NE/J009768/1, and the Raidi? Teilif?s ?ireann (RTE) broadcasting company for the television programme ?The Investigators?. We would like to thank the Captain and Crew of the RV Celtic Explorer, cruise participants and Mr ?odhan Fitzgerald of the Marine Institute, for their invaluable assistance during cruises CE10008 and CE14004 (WICPro). The research surveys were carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007?2013.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Benthic foraminifera
  • British-Irish Ice Sheet
  • Climate
  • Deglacial marine environments
  • Irish continental shelf
  • British–Irish Ice Sheet
  • deglacial marine environments
  • climate
  • benthic foraminifera


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