The extent of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) in northern Scotland is disputed. A restricted ice sheet model holds that at the global Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ca. 23-19 ka) the BIIS terminated on land in northern Scotland, leaving Buchan, Caithness and the Orkney Islands ice-free. An alternative model implies that these three areas were ice-covered at the LGM, with the BIIS extending offshore onto the adjacent shelves. We test the two models using cosmogenic 10Be surface exposure dating of erratic boulders and glacially eroded bedrock from the three areas. Our results indicate that the last BIIS covered all of northern Scotland during the LGM, but that widespread deglaciation of Caithness and Orkney occurred prior to rapid warming at ca. 14.5 ka. Copyright ?? 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Extent of the last ice sheet in northern Scotland tested with cosmogenic 10Be exposure ages