A snow-push mechanism for ridge formation in the Cairngorm mountains, Scotland

Martin P. Kirkbride (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Observations are presented of a newly deposited snow-push ridge superimposed on a Holocene moraine in Coire an Lochain in the Cairngorm Mountains. The ridge formed when a sliding snow slab was thrust up the proximal slope of the moraine, entraining till gravel and redepositing it on the moraine crest. The process was a late-stage event during the complex wastage of a large snowfield resting on a rock slab, involving basal sliding, avalanching and melting. Snow-push landforms appear to be rare in Scotland. Nevertheless, these observations suggest that fresh material may be added to relict moraine crests in the present-day climate, with implications for exposure-age dating of moraines. However, in this case the addition of debris by snow push to a late Holocene moraine crest does not affect the interpretation of moraine age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date18 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


  • snow push
  • moraine formation
  • Cairngorm Mountains


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