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Peat Development, Sand Cones and Paleohydrogeology of a Spring-fed Mire in East Yorkshire, UK

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Paul Younger


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An archaeological dig near Beverley, East Yorkshire, UK, revealed humified peat enclosing conical and cylindrical sand bodies ('sand cones'), which contained Romano-British greyware. Such sand cones have not been previously described in the literature. Below the peat, upper and lower diamict units (previously classified as Holocene alluvium) were reclassified as late Devensian lodgement till and pre-late Devensian chalky head (gelifluction deposits) respectively. Enigmatic buried timbers, dated dendrochronologically to 5840 BP, were found partially buried within the till. Micromorphological evidence shows that the peat is autochthonous. The sand cones are remains of former spring orifices, which served as foci for groundwater discharge from the regional East Yorkshire chalk aquifer (which underlies the chalk-head deposits in hydraulic continuity). As a corollary, it is suggested that the buried timbers subsided into the till penecontemporaneously with the death of the tree, when an early period of vigorous groundwater discharge led to the temporary establishment of quicksand conditions. Feat accumulation and humification were intimately linked to variations in spring flows. Radiocarbon dates help to relate these variations to regional palaeohydrogeology, in particular to Holocene water-table fluctuations, which reflect changes in recharge rates (a function of climatic change) and sea level.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Younger PL, McHugh M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Holocene

Year: 1995

Volume: 5

Issue: 1

Pages: 59-67

Print publication date: 01/01/1995

ISSN (print): 0959-6836

ISSN (electronic): 1477-0911

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/095968369500500107


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