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Cenozoic uplift of southwest England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rob Westaway


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The uplift history of southwest England is inferred using a composite dataset including marine and fluvial terraces and karstic data. The estimated post-Mid-Pliocene uplift increases eastward from ~130 m in west Cornwall and ~135 m in south Devon to ~150 m in the Hampshire Basin. The post-Early-Pleistocene uplift likewise increases eastward, from ~55 m in west Cornwall to ~60 m in south Devon and ~80 m in Hampshire. Landscape and thermochronological evidence also indicates Eocene uplift, caused by the British Tertiary Igneous Province magmatism; this component tapers eastward from ~300 m in west Cornwall to ~50 m in south Devon, with subsidence in east Devon. This uplift accompanied magmatic underplating; the mafic layer added to the basal crust thins eastward from ~6 km in west Cornwall to ~2 km in south Devon, evidently tapering to zero farther east. The laterally variable crustal properties caused by this variation in underplating have affected the post-Mid-Pliocene uplift; the study region is thus intermediate, in terms of crustal strength and landscape evolution, between central-southern England, with no underplating, and Ireland, where ~10 km thick underplating has resulted in extreme Late Cenozoic landscape stability. The Eocene mantle-plume-related uplift is distinct from the post-Mid-Pliocene phase which, the modelling indicates, has been driven by surface processes and, thus, by climate change. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Supporting information can be found in the online version of this article. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Westaway R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Quaternary Science

Year: 2010

Volume: 25

Issue: 4

Pages: 419-432

Print publication date: 01/05/2010

ISSN (print): 0267-8179

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1417

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1394


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