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Landform modification by palaeo-ice streams in east-central Ireland

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In eastern Ireland, subglacial bedforms including drumlins and Rogen moraines were modified by headward erosion along two ice streams which had over-lapping flow tracks. The ice streams, which had tidewater termini, are dated by geochronometric and morphostratigraphic methods to <15.0 14C kyr BP (Castleblaney ice stream) and ∼13.814C kyr BP (Armagh ice stream). Bedforms along ice-stream tracks show a morphological continuum which reflects a down-ice increase in the degree of modification by ice-stream activity (i.e. resulting in unmodified → remoulded/overprinted → cross-cut → streamlined bedforms). The down-ice changes in bedform types are inferred to relate to changes in subglacial drainage and sediment-transport mechanisms. Bedform and sedimentary evidence suggest that discrete subglacial meltwater channels which developed up-ice changed in a down-ice direction to unchannelized flows which deepened towards the ice margin. Meltwater release from subglacial cavities, and produced by strain heating at sheared ice-stream margins, probably helped support ice-stream flow, which ended as the volume of subglacial meltwater discharge decreased. Dated millennial-scale cycles of ice activity may be related to instability at tidewater margins, followed by complex thermal and hydraulic responses within the ice mass.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

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