Multiproxy Devensian Late-glacial and Holocene environmental records at an Atlantic coastal site in Shetland

G Whittington, P Buckland, Kevin John Edwards, M Greenwood, M Robinson

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19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Marine erosion at Clettnadal, West Burra island off the west coast of Shetland, caused the drainage of a small water body at Clettnadal, exposing deposits of Late Devensian and Holocene age. Pollen, diatom and invertebrate analyses have provided variable records of environmental change during stratigraphical event GI-1. Event GS-1 is revealed by the non-pollen evidence, especially by Coleoptera, by sediment stratigraphy, and by radiocarbon dating. In contrast, the pollen evidence indicates that an arctic tundra flora, in which dwarf shrubs were prominent, persisted throughout the Late-glacial. The Holocene brought colonisation by tree birch, but by ca. 9000 C-14 yr BP the taxon had almost disappeared. This contrasts strongly with other Holocene pollen records for Shetland where both Betula and Corylus avellana-type survived longer-at some sites, for example, until ca. 2900 yr BP. The extreme westerly and exposed coastal situation of Clettnadal appears to be responsible both for a muted Late-glacial response in the pollen record of terrestrial vegetation and for the early replacement of woodland by a maritime grassland. The results provoke questions concerning biological stability at times of marked climatic change. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-168
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • Shetland
  • Scotland
  • invertebrates
  • diatoms
  • pollen
  • environmental change
  • NORTHWEST-TERRITORIES
  • WESTERN NORWAY
  • GREENLAND ICE
  • CLIMATE
  • SCOTLAND
  • POLLEN
  • EVENT
  • VEGETATION
  • RESPONSES
  • KRAKENES

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