IGA LECTURE Wednesday, 8th February, 2012
Advancing our knowledge of Ireland’s glacial history.
Speaker: Dr Steve McCarron (NUI Maynooth)
VENUE: Museum 4, Dept. of Geology, Muesum Building, Trinity College, Dublin 2.
Repeated: Thursday, 9th February 2012 University College Cork
Update: Due to unforseen circumstances, Steve is no longer available to repeat his talk on Thursday.
Work continues to document and interpret the glacial landforms and landscapes of Ireland. Providing geological evidence of Late Midlandian (~40-20 ka BP) ice mass growth and decay phases at the temporal resolution needed by the wider science community of ice sheet modellers and glaciologists has become even more difficult, as we move beyond largely unhelpful monolithic, sketch-like caricatures of former ice sheet extents (e.g. at ‘the LGM’). New exciting conceptions and visualisations of a rapidly evolving reality-based ice mass with multiple growth and decay phases derived from dynamical models of the last British Irish Ice Sheet postulate the rapid and repeated switching of key palaeoglaciological conditions that may or may not have left a geological imprint in the onshore or offshore record (see Fig. 1). Testing these models against actual glacial history is needed however: thus a robust, precise and widespread geochronology of geological events (erosion or sedimentation episodes) is needed more than ever. This role is an important one, as these models will better than any provide a guide to the glaciological evolution of modern ice masses. It is a research goal to investigate the operation of key components of these models (e.g. areas of ‘ice streaming’ onto the continental shelf) through the addition of offshore evidence to our formidable store of glacial geological heritage; in the form of both sediment cores collected as part of the INFOMAR research programme, and geophysical data hopefully collected during an upcoming research cruise of the RV Celtic Voyager.