Relative sea-level changes in the Solway Firth, Southwest Scotland

D. E. Smith, J. M. Wells, Timothy Michael Mighall, R. Cullingford, L. Hollway, S. Dawson

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in Holocene (Flandrian) relative sea levels and coastal geomorphology in the lower Cree valley and estuary, SW Scotland, are inferred from detailed morphological and stratigraphical investigations. A graph of relative sea level changes is proposed for the area. Rising relative sea levels during the early Holocene were interrupted at c. 8300-8600 C-14 years B.P. (c. 9400-9900 calibrated years B.P.). when an extensive estuarine surface was reached at c. -1 m O.D., after which a fluctuating rise culminated at c. 6100-6500 C-14 B.P. (c. 7000-7500 calibrated years B.P.) in a prominent shoreline and associated estuarine surface measured at 7.7-10.3 m O.D. A subsequent fall in relative sea level was followed by a rise to a shoreline at 7.8-10.1 m O.D., exceeding or reoccupying the earlier shoreline over much of the area after c. 5000 C-14 B.P. (c. 5,800 calibrated years B.P.), before relative sea level fell to a later shoreline, reached after c. 2900 C-14 B.P. (c. 3100 calibrated years B.P.) at 5.5-8.0 m O.D., following which relative sea levels fell, ultimately reaching present levels. During these changes, a particular feature of the coastline was the development of a number of barrier systems. The relative sea level changes identified are compared with changes elsewhere in SW Scotland and their wider context is briefly considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-331
Number of pages30
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh-Earth
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • diatoms
  • foraminifera
  • glacio-isostasy
  • morphology
  • ostracoda
  • particle size
  • pollen
  • shoreline
  • stratigraphy
  • LAND
  • RISE
  • BP


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