Scot­land buried be­neath ice2.5m yearsago

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS - BY JON HEBDITCH

Re­searchers in the north­east have dis­cov­ered that their his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge of Scot­land’s big freezes was ac­tu­ally just the tip of the ice­berg.

A team of Aberdeen Univer­sity geo­sci­en­tists has made a sig­nif­i­cant break­through over the un­der­stand­ing of a gi­ant ice sheet which cov­ered Scot­land and much of the North Sea 2.5 mil­lion years ago.

At the time, the body of wa­ter was deeper and nar­rower, akin to a large fjord, and gen­er­ated ice­bergs nearly 1,000ft high.

Due to sea­sonal changes in tem­per­a­ture, the ice sheet re­peat­edly merged and re­treated with another which was cov­er­ing Scandinavia, fill­ing and emp­ty­ing the chan­nel.

Un­til now the sci­en­tific con­sen­sus was that deep freez­ing on this scale first hap­pened around 1.1 mil­lion years ago.

But by us­ing rare sam­ples and seis­mic data, the re­searchers have dis­cov­ered that it ac­tu­ally be­gan a fur­ther 1.4 mil­lion years ear­lier.

Brice Rae from Aberdeen Univer­sity, said it has “com­pletely changed” sci­en­tists’ un­der­stand­ing of the topic.

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