- Reinterpreting Rotherslade, Gower Peninsula: Implications for Last Glacial ice limits and Quaternary stratigraphy of the British Isles
- Journal of Quaternary Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 24 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Rotherslade on the Gower Peninsula in south Wales has been viewed as a key site for the reconstruction of Quaternary depositional environments in the British Isles. Since the early 20th century, and certainly since the 1980s, the accepted view has been that Rotherslade is the most westerly location on the south Gower coast where there is in situ basal till exposed and that, logically, this location marks the position of the LGM ice limit. However, reinvestigation of the sediments and their architecture, and analysis of clast fabrics and thin sections of critical sedimentary units, show that none of the exposed sediments has properties diagnostic of subglacial deposition or deformation. We postulate here that LGM ice terminated at the western side of Swansea Bay, a few kilometres to the north-east of Rotherslade, and propose that the sedimentary sequence comprises Early to Middle Devensian periglacial sediments, overlain by a complex of Late Devensian, ice-proximal outwash fan deposits, an assemblage of paraglacial debris and, finally, periglacial mass movement deposits. The proposed repositioning of the Late Devensian ice limit and the associated new subaerial interpretation of the sediments suggest that a reassessment of sedimentary sequences (Hunts Bay, Western Slade) and landforms (Paviland Moraine) farther west on Gower, which have attained similar stratigraphical status, is now warranted.
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