Loess in Britain and Ireland: Formation, modification and environmental significance, a review in memory of John Catt (1937–2017)

Article


Bunce, C., Smalley, I., Stevens, T. and Assadi Langroudi, A. 2022. Loess in Britain and Ireland: Formation, modification and environmental significance, a review in memory of John Catt (1937–2017). Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2022.06.005
AuthorsBunce, C., Smalley, I., Stevens, T. and Assadi Langroudi, A.
Abstract

Loess was first identified in England as early as the mid-19th century, although these deposits were later mapped as ‘brickearth’ or ‘head-brickearth’ by the British Geological Survey. Much of this material was subsequently recognised and named as loess again by soil scientists, most notably by J.A. Catt. The early reports of loess were mostly located in southeast England, however, more recently loessic deposits have also been reported from the north of England, possibly in Scotland, and as far west as western Ireland. Catt also appreciated that these deposits are the western limits of a broad cover of loess stretching across Eurasia. Here, contrasting models for the possible origin, transport pathways and reworking of these deposits are presented. While some of these British deposits are primary in situ loess, a range of processes has likely affected many of them, including periglaciation, Holocene climatic, and human impacts. Luminescence dating has confirmed British loess to be primarily of late Pleistocene age, however, examples of older loess are also reviewed. Deposits in southeast England are the thickest and best expressed today, and these have yielded significant insight into both the mechanism of the hydroconsolidation (collapse) of loess and landscape evolution in northwest Europe during the Last Glacial Period. The thin and regional nature of British and Irish loess may make it an excellent material for studying loess formation, with advantages over the thicker deposits of typical loess of central Europe, where the impact of smaller scale landscape processes may be less obvious.

JournalProceedings of the Geologists' Association
ISSN0016-7878
Year2022
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2022.06.005
Publication dates
Online28 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted20 Jun 2022
Deposited29 Jun 2022
Copyright holder© 2022 Elsevier
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