What is 1840 mean in dating
at the foot of Ben Nevis, and in the principal valleys, I discovered the most distinct morains and polished rocky surfaces, just as in the valleys of the Swiss Alps, in the region of existing glaciers; so that the existence of glaciers in Scotland at earlier periods can no longer be doubted.” These discoveries initiated new debates about climate change and the extent to which the actions of glaciers had been important in shaping the British landscape.
These arguments continued for the rest of the century.
He is especially interested in the mountain landscapes of the Mediterranean and published The Physical Geography of the Mediterranean for OUP in 2009.
At the end of the previous century, in his Theory of the Earth (1795), Scotsman James Hutton became the first British geologist to suggest that the glaciers of the Alps had once been much more extensive.
He set out his ideas on the power of glaciers and proposed that the great granite blocks strewn across the foothills of the Jura had been dumped there by glaciers.
In 1840 Buckland and Agassiz had no means of establishing the age of the glaciation because the scientific dating of landscapes and geological deposits only became possible in the next century.
They could only state that glaciers had existed at “earlier periods”.
Following the widespread use of radiocarbon dating in the decades after the Second World War, it was established that the last Scottish glaciers disappeared about 11,500 years ago at the close of the last glacial period.
Many of the cirques of upland Britain are now occupied by lakes and peat bogs which began to form soon after the ice disappeared.
Jamie Woodward is Professor of Physical Geography at The University of Manchester.
He has published extensively on landscape change and ice age environments.
He tweets @Jamie_Woodward_ providing a colourful digital companion to The Ice Age VSI.
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