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Holocene relative sea levels and coastal changes in the lower Cree valley and estuary, SW Scotland, U.K.

  • D. E. Smith (a1), J. M. Wells (a2), T. M. Mighall (a2), R. A. Cullingford (a3), L. K. Holloway (a2), S. Dawson (a2) and C. L. Brooks (a4)...

Abstract

Changes in Holocene (Flandrian) relative sea levels and coastal geomorphology in the lower Cree valley and estuary, SW Scotland, are inferred from detailed morphological and stratigraphical investigations. A graph of relative sea level changes is proposed for the area. Rising relative sea levels during the early Holocene were interrupted at c. 8300–8600 14C years B.P.(c. 9400–9900 calibrated years B.P.), when an extensive estuarine surface was reached at c. −1 m O.D., after which a fluctuating rise culminated at c. 6100–6500 14C B.P. (c. 7000–7500 calibrated years B.P.) in a prominent shoreline and associated estuarine surface measured at 7·7–10·3 m O.D. A subsequent fall in relative sea level was followed by a rise to a shoreline at 7·8–10·1 m O.D., exceeding or reoccupying the earlier shoreline over much of the area after c. 5000 14C B.P. (c. 5,800 calibrated years B.P.), before relative sea level fell to a later shoreline, reached after c. 2900 14C B.P. (c. 3100 calibrated years B.P.) at 5·5–8·0 m O.D., following which relative sea levels fell, ultimately reaching present levels. During these changes, a particular feature of the coastline was the development of a number of barrier systems. The relative sea level changes identified are compared with changes elsewhere in SW Scotland and their wider context is briefly considered.

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