Pleistocene till provenance in east Yorkshire: Reconstructing ice flow of the British North Sea Lobe

Marie E. Busfield*, Jonathan R. Lee, James B. Riding, Jan Zalasiewicz, Sarah V. Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The ice flow path and dynamic behaviour of the British-Irish Ice Sheet has been subject to renewed interest and controversy in recent years. Early studies in eastern England argued for interaction with Fennoscandian ice onshore in Britain, instigating re-examination of the sedimentology and provenance of many Pleistocene till successions. These studies instead supported an exclusively British provenance, and are used to predict southward advance of a broadly coast-parallel North Sea Lobe. Quantitative lithological and palynological analysis of the Pleistocene till succession in Holderness, East Yorkshire, however, remains to be carried out. We examined the lithologically diverse Skipsea Till in order to reconstruct ice flow pathways to the Holderness coast during the Pleistocene, thereby constraining which areas of substrate were subglacially eroded and entrained prior to deposition. The till yields a diverse range of soft, low-durability and uniquely British allochthonous material, including Permian Magnesian Limestone, Carboniferous limestone and coal, and Carboniferous pollen and spore assemblages that would be unlikely to survive polyphase reworking. Ice extended southwards through southern Scotland, incorporating material in north-east England, north-east Yorkshire and the western margin of the North Sea Basin (NSB), supporting a recurrent ice flow pathway for the eastern margin of the British-Irish Ice Sheet during the Mid to Late Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-99
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Geologists' Association
Issue number1
Early online date04 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2015


  • British-Irish Ice Sheet
  • North Sea Lobe
  • Pleistocene
  • Provenance
  • Skipsea Till


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