Towards improved empirical isobase models of Holocene land uplift for mainland Scotland, UK

D.E. Smith, P.T. Fretwell, R.A. Cullingford, Callum Firth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new approach to modelling patterns of glacio-isostatic land uplift during the Holocene in mainland Scotland, UK, is described. The approach is based upon altitude measurements at the inner margin or locally highest point of raised estuarine surfaces dated by radiocarbon assay supported by microfossil analyses. 2241 altitudes have been analysed by a technique new to studies of former sea-levels, Gaussian Trend Surface Analysis, and isobase models for four Holocene shorelines: the Holocene Storegga Slide tsunami shoreline, abandoned rapidly circa 7900 sidereal years BP; the Main Postglacial shoreline, abandoned during circa 6400–7700 sidereal years BP; the Blairdrummond shoreline, abandoned during circa 4500–5800 sidereal years BP, and a speculative fourth shoreline, the Wigtown shoreline, abandoned during circa 1520–3700 sidereal years BP, are shown in a series of maps. The implications of the shoreline patterns for glaicio-isostasy in the area are discussed. It is maintained that the statistical technique used enables broad estimates to be made of nearshore sea surface change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-972
Number of pages24
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A
Issue number1841
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


  • Gaussian trend surface
  • isobase
  • Holocene Storegga Slide tsunami shoreline
  • Main Postglacial shoreline
  • Blairdrummond shoreline
  • Wigtown shoreline


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