Glaciers may have survived in Scotland more recently than thought

Jan. 21, 2014 at 4:37 PM
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DUNDEE, Scotland, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A glacier may have still been in place in Scotland within the past 400 years, 11,000 years more recently than previously thought, a geographer has suggested.

Martin Kirkbride of Dundee University said a glacier may have survived in the Cairngorms mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland in the 18th century, despite the common belief the last of the Britain's slow-moving ice and snow masses melted 11,500 years ago.

Kirkbride made the suggestion based on his studies of corries -- basin-shaped features created by glaciations -- in the Cairngorns.

His study found a small glacier in a Cairngorms corrie may have piled up granite boulders to form moraine ridges within the past few centuries in a time of cold climate known as the Little Ice Age, he said.

"Our laboratory dating indicates that the moraines were formed within the last couple of thousand years, which shows that a Scottish glacier existed more recently than we had previously thought," Kirkbride told the BBC.

"The climate of the last few millennia was at its most severe between 1650 and 1790.

"There are some anecdotal reports from that time of snow covering some of the mountain tops year-round," he said. "What we have now is the scientific evidence that there was indeed a glacier."

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