The mode of deglaciation of the last Scottish ice sheet is assessed from evidence provided by geomorphological mapping and sedimentology. Ice‐marginal deposits in the Dee valley have a distinctive morphological expression and a characteristically varied sedimentology that strongly resembles those from subpolar glaciers. The deposits tend to occur in certain topographic situations which can be accounted for by compression of ice near the margin and formation of an ice‐cored supraglacial land system. A series of recessional stages of the ice‐front can be mapped demonstrating that active retreat occurred. However, additional evidence shows there was probably a thin marginal zone of stagnant ice. Recessional stages are inferred to be stillstands that are considered to be topographically controlled rather than related to climate. Development of the supraglacial land system during deglaciation suggests that the ice sheet had a polythermal basal regime with a cold‐based margin. This implies that deglaciation took place in northeast Scotland while the climate remained cold, probably due to a precipitation deficit, which agrees well with chronostratigraphic data.
- glacial geomorphology
- northeast Scotland