Glacial meltwater erosion and sedimentation as evidence for multiple glaciations in west Wales

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224 - 237
Number of pages14
JournalBoreas
Volume33
Issue number3
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 2008
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Abstract

This article presents the results of a geomorphological and sedimentological investigation of former glacial meltwater drainage in the region of the lower Afon Teifi, one of the major rivers of southwest Wales. Former drainage characteristics in the region are reconstructed concentrating on palaeo-drainage routes associated with successive Pleistocene glaciations and their role in the Quaternary evolution of the lower Teifi. Mapping of these features throughout a c. 100 km 2 area reveals a complex evolution in the establishment of the present-day drainage system, with evidence for the following surface channel types: (i) type 1 channels of primary subglacial origin cut during the late Devensian (late Wisconsinan/late Weichselian) glaciation; (ii) type 2 channels representing either pre-late Devensian subaerial fluvial run-off, unconnected to the course of the preglacial Afon Teifi, or originating as subglacial chute channels; (iii) type 3 channels developed as subglacially modified pre-late Devensian tributaries of the Afon Teifi. Two further features are also described: (iv) type 4 channels are drift-plugged abandoned preglacial courses of the Afon Teifi, and (v) type 5 channels formed as lateglacial and post-late Devensian gorges which bypass type 4 channels. A relative chronostratigraphy based on channel geomorphology and sedimentology reveals an evolutionary sequence considerably more complicated than identified in previous studies, with extensive modification of the lower Afon Teifi region by glacial meltwater during at least two periods of Pleistocene glaciation.