Britain and Ireland: Glacial landforms during deglaciation

Philip D. Hughes, Chris D. Clark, Philip L. Gibbard, Neil F. Glasser, Matt D. Tomkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The British–Irish Ice Sheet rapidly collapsed during the main deglaciation. In less than 5ka, ice retreated from offshore to limited ice masses in the uplands with large areas ice-free by 15ka. Retreat was not uniform, however, with differences in the timing and pace of retreat exhibited by different sectors of the last ice sheet with evidence from some areas that ice was still offshore of the current coast in parts of Scotland as late as the Bølling–Allerød. The most rapid retreat was in marine-terminating embayments, which, for example, saw the Irish Sea Ice Stream suffer rapid retreat. Overall retreat and ice sheet thinning was interrupted by readvances/stabilisations during cold reversals within Greenland Stadial 2, such as Heinrich Stadial 1/Oldest Dryas. The effects of deglaciation on the landscape resulted in the landscapes we see today, and the transition from ice sheet to alpine-style glaciers resulted in a palimpsest of landforms from summits to cirques.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Glacial Landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationThe Last Deglaciation
EditorsDavid Palacios, Philip D. Hughes, Jose M. Garcia-Ruiz , Nuria de Andrés
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780323918992
ISBN (Print)9780323985116
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2022


  • Glacier retreat
  • Heinrich Event 1
  • Heinrich Stadial 1
  • ice sheet thinning
  • Oldest Dryas
  • Wester Ross Readvance


Dive into the research topics of 'Britain and Ireland: Glacial landforms during deglaciation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this