The extent, basal conditions and retreat history of a Loch Lomond Stadial glacier are reconstructed based on detailed geomorphological and sedimentological assessment. We present new evidence from the vicinity of Coire Ardair that supports the former existence of a warm-based, locally-fed valley glacier, with probable cold-based ice on the surrounding plateau. This is broadly consistent with modelled creep-dominated flow in the upper catchment and sliding-dominated flow throughout much of the valley. A dense suite of moraines, primarily formed in ice-marginal environments, records a multi-phase recessional history: (1) active and oscillatory retreat; (2) a prolonged ice stillstand; (3) partial ice stagnation with occasional minor readvances; (4) increased oscillatory retreat with a substantial readvance event; and (5) rapid and uninterrupted retreat. We propose that a Coire Ardair glacier responded to sub-centennial scale climate fluctuations, possibly associated with the periodic delivery of warmer air masses to the region, rather than to a single, prominent shift in climate.
- Younger Dryas