In this paper new and previously published data on the Pleistocene glacial impact on the NW European margin from Ireland to Svalbard (between c. 48°N-80°N) are compiled. The morphology of the glaciated part of the European margin strongly reflects repeated occurrence of fast-moving ice streams, creating numerous glacial troughs/ channels that are separated by shallow bank areas. End-moraines have been identified at several locations on the shelf, suggesting shelf-edge glaciation along the major part of the margin during the Last Glacial Maximum. Deposition of stacked units of glacigenic debris flows on the continental slope form fans at a number of locations from 55°N and northwards, whereas the margin to the south of this is characterised by the presence of submarine canyons. Glaciation curves, based primarily on information from the glacial fed fan systems, that depict the Pleistocene trends in extent of glaciations along the margin have been compiled. These curves suggest that extensive shelf glaciations started around Svalbard at 1.6-1.3 Ma, while repeated periods of shelf-edge glaciations on the UK margin started with MIS 12 (c. 0.45 Ma). The available evidence for MIS 2 suggest that shelf-edge glaciation for the whole margin was reached between c. 28 and 22 14C ka BP and maximum positions after this were more limited in some regions (North Sea and Lofoten). The last glacial advance on the margin has been dated to 15-13.5 14C ka BP, and by c. 13 14C ka BP the shelf areas were completely deglaciated. The Younger Dryas (Loch Lomond) advance reached the coastal areas in only a few regions.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima