Late Holocene coastal sand movements in the Outer Hebrides, N.W. Scotland

Sue Dawson, David E. Smith, Jason Jordan, Alastair G. Dawson

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    48 Citations (Scopus)


    Lithostratigraphical and biostratigraphical investigation of coastal marshes along the Atlantic coast of the Outer Hebrides from Lewis in the north to Barra in the south discloses inland-tapering sand units within marshland areas. The inland extent of each sand unit has been radiometrically dated and the units have been collectively interpreted as a proxy for past coastal storminess. The data appear to indicate that for the study sites investigated, the majority of the sand units were produced during episodes of climate deterioration both prior to and after the well-known period of Medieval warmth (MWP). Many were produced after ca. AD 1400. It is argued that the episodes of sand blow indicated by the deposits may reflect periods of increased cyclogenesis in the Atlantic associated with increased sea ice cover and an increase in the thermal gradient across the North Atlantic region.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)281-306
    Number of pages26
    JournalMarine Geology
    Issue number1-4
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004


    • Machair
    • Storminess
    • North Atlantic
    • Little Ice Age (LIA)
    • Medieval Warm Period (MWP)
    • Outer Hebrides
    • Scotland


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