A model for Devensian and Flandrian glacial rebound and sea-level change in Scotland

  • Kurt Lambeck
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 334)


The Late Devensian and Flandrian deglaciation of Great Britain produces a complex pattern of sea-level change for Scotland because of the rebound of the region when the load is removed, because of the addition of meltwater from the decay of the world’s major ice sheets at about the same time, and because of the rebound occurring from the adjacent Fennoscandian deglaciation. The sea-level observations contain information on the Earth’s rheology as well as on the evolution of the ice sheets themselves. These data are particularly sensitive to the structure of the upper mantle beneath Britain and yield values of 3xl020 Pa s for the upper mantle viscosity and about 100 km for the lithospheric thickness. The ice sheet at the time of maximum glaciation at about 18 000 a BP was less extensive than assumed in the models of Denton & Hughes (1981) and Boulton et al. (1977) and is more consistent with the minimum reconstruction proposed by Boulton et al. (1985). In particular, a major ice sheet could not have existed over the North Sea much after about 23 000 a BP. Also, the ice sheet was less extensive over the continental shelf west of Scotland than assumed in these maximum reconstruction models.


Lithospheric Thickness Mantle Viscosity Maximum Glaciation Moray Firth Glacial Rebound 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersen, B.G. (1981) ‘Late Weichselian ice sheets in Eurasia and Greenland’, in G.H. Denton & T.J. Hughes, J. Wiley (eds.),The Last Great Ice Sheets, New York, pp. 1–65.Google Scholar
  2. Ballantyne, C.K. & Gray, J.M. (1984) The quaternary geomorphology of Scotland: The research contribution of J.B. Sissons’, Quat. Sci. Rev., 3, pp. 259–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Binns, P.E., Harland, R. and Hughes, M.J. (1974) ‘Glacial and postglacial sedimentation in the Sea of the Hebrides’, Nature, 248, pp. 751–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boulton, G.S., Jones, A.S., Clayton, K.M., Kenning, M.J. (1977) ‘A British ice-sheet model and patterns of glacial erosion and deposition in Britain’, in R.W. Shotten (ed.), British Quaternary Studies: Recent advances, Clarendon Press, pp. 231–246.Google Scholar
  5. Boulton, G.S., Smith G.D., Jones, A.S., Newsome, J., (1985) ‘Glacial geology and glaciology of the last mid-latitude ice sheets’, J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 142, pp.447–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Browne, M.A.E. (1980) ‘Late-Devensian marine limits and the pattern of déglaciation of the Strathearn area, Tayside’, Scott.J.Geol. 16(2/3), pp. 221–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chappell, J and Shackleton, N.J. (1987) ‘Oxygen isotopes and sea-level,’ Nature 213, pp. 137–140.Google Scholar
  8. Cullingford R.A., Caseldine C.J., & Gotts P.E. (1980) ‘Early Flandrian land and sea-level changes in Lower Strathearn’, Nature, Vol. 13, pp. 159–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dawson, Alastair G. (1982) Lateglacial sea-level changes and ice-limits in Islay, Jura and Scarba, Scottish Inner Hebrides’, Scott. J. Geol.18(4), pp. 253–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dawson, A.G. (1984) ‘Quaternary sea-level changes in western Scotland’, Quat. Sci. Rev., Vol. 3, pp. 345–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Denton, G.H. & Hughes, T.J. (eds), 1981, The Last Great Ice Sheets, Wiley, New York. 484 pp..Google Scholar
  12. Donner, J.J. (1970) ‘Land/Sea Level Changes in Scotland’, The Vegetational History of the British Isles (Walker & West), Cambridge, pp. 23–39.Google Scholar
  13. Dziewonski, A.M. and Anderson, D.L. (1981) ‘Preliminary reference Earth model’, Phys. Earth Planet. Int. 25, pp. 297–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eden, RA., Holmes, R., and Fannin, N.G.T. (1978) ‘Depositional environment of offshore Quaternary deposits of the Continental Shelf around Scotland’ Report 72/15 Inst. Geol. Sci., Edinburgh, 18 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Farrell, W.E. & Clark, J.A. (1976) ‘On postglacial sea-level’, Geophys. J. Soc., 46, pp. 647–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Firth, CR. (1989) ‘Late Devensian raised shorelines and ice limits in the inner Moray Firth area, northern Scotland’, Boreas, Vol. 18, pp. 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Firth, C.R., and Haggart, B.A. (1989) ‘Loch Lomond Stadial and Flandrian Shorelines in the inner Moray Firth area, Scotland’, Journal of Quaternary Sciences, Vol. 4, pp. 37–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Flinn, D. (1978) ‘The most recent glaciation of the Orkney-Shetland Channel and adjacent areas’, Scottish J. Geology, 14, pp. 109–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gray, J.M. (1983) ‘The measurement of shoreline altitudes in areas affected by glacio-isotasy with particular reference to Scotland’, in D.E. Smith & A.G. Dawson (eds.), Shorelines and Isotasy, Academic Press, pp. 97–127.Google Scholar
  20. Gray, J. M. (1975) ‘The Loch Lomond Readvance and contemporaneous sea-levels in Loch Etive and neighbouring areas of wester Scotland’, Proc.Geol.Ass., 86, (2), pp. 227–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gray, J. Murray (1974) ‘Lateglacial and postglacial shorelines in western Scotland’, Boreas, Vol. 3, pp. 129–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haggart, B.A. (1988) ‘A review of radio carbon dates on peat and wood from Holocene coastal sedimentary sequences in Scotland’, Scottish J. Geology, 24, pp.125–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haggart, B.A. (1986) ‘Relative sea-level change in the Beauly Firth, Scotland’, Boreas, 15, pp. 191–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jardine W. G. (1975) ‘Chronology of Holocene marine transgression and regression in south-western Scotland’, Boreas, Vol. 4, pp. 173–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jardine, W.G. (1982) ‘Sea-level changes in Scotland during the last 18,000 years’, Proc. Geol. Ass., 93(1), pp. 25–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lambeck, K. & Nakada, M. (1990) ‘Late Pleistocene and Holocene Sea-Level Change along the Australian Coast,’ Global Planet Change (in press).Google Scholar
  27. Lambeck, K. Johnston, P & Nakada M. (1990) ‘Glacial rebound and sea-level change in northwestern Europe’, Geophys. J. Int. (in press).Google Scholar
  28. Nakada, M. & Lambeck, K. (1989) ‘Late Pleistocene and Holocene sea-level change in the Australian region and mantle rheology’, Geophys. J., 96, pp. 497–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nakada, M. & Lambeck, K. (1987) ‘Glacial rebound and relative sea-level variations: a new appraisal’, Geophys. J., 90, pp. 171–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Peacock, J.D., Graham, D.K., & Wilkinson, I.P.(1978) ‘Late-glacial and post-glacial marine environments at Ardyne, Scotland, and their significance in the interpretation of the history of the Clyde sea area’ Report 787/17 Inst. Geol. Sci., Edinburg, 25 pp.Google Scholar
  31. Peltier, W.R. & Andrews, J.T. (1976) ‘Glacial isostatic adjustment — I: The forward problem’, Geophys. J., 46, pp. 605–646.Google Scholar
  32. Sissons, J.B. (1983a) ‘Shorelines and isotasy in Scotland’ in D.E. Smith & A.G. Dawson (eds.), Shorelines and Isostasy, Academic Press, London, pp. 209–225.Google Scholar
  33. Sissons, J.B. (1983b) ‘The Quaternary geomorphology of the Inner Hebrides: a review and reassessment’, Proc. Geol. Ass., 94, pp. 165–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sissons, J.B. (1981) ‘The last Scottish ice sheet: facts and speculative discussion’ Boreas, 10, pp.1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sissons, J.B. and Dawson, A.G. (1981) ‘Former sea-levels and ice limits in part of Wester Ross, northwest Scotland’, Proc. Geol. Ass., 92, pp. 115–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sissons, J.B., & Brooks, C.L. (1971) ‘Dating of Early Postglacial Land and Sea Level Changes in the Western Forth Valley’, Nature Physicel Science, Vol. 234, pp. 124–127.Google Scholar
  37. Sissons, J.B. (1967) The evolution of Scotland’s scenery, 259 pp., Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  38. Smith, D.E., Cullingford, R.A. & Brooks, C.L. (1983) ‘Flandrian Relative Sea Level Changes in the Ythan Valley, Northeast Scotland’, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol 8, pp. 423–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Synge, F.M., (1977) ‘Records of sea levels during the Late Devensian’ Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B280, pp. 211–228.Google Scholar
  40. Ters, M. (1973) ‘Les Variations du Niveau marin depuis 10 000 ans, le long du littoral atlantique français’, Le Quaternaire, Geodynamique, Stratigraphie et Environnement, Paris, pp. 114–135.Google Scholar
  41. Thompson K.R. (1980) ‘An analysis of British monthly mean sealevel’ Geophys. J., 63, pp. 57–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. van de Plassche, O (1982) ‘Sea-level change and water-level movements in the Netherlands during the Holocene’ Med. Rijks Geologische Dienst, 36–1, 92 pp.Google Scholar
  43. Walker, D. (1966) ‘The Late Quaternary History of the Cumberland Lowland’ Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B251,l,2, pp. 140–143.Google Scholar
  44. Watts, W.A. (1977) ‘The Late Devensian vegetation of Ireland’, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B280, pp. 273–293.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Lambeck
    • 1
  1. 1.Research School of Earth SciencesThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations