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Quaternary environmental changes in the fluvial and faunal history of central Northamptonshire

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:39 by Kathleen Ann. Smith
This dissertation is an analysis of the Quaternary fluvial history of central Northamptonshire. It uses new freshwater ostracod data which are interpreted using information on Quaternary and present day habitats and examines in detail associated patterns of environmental change in coarse sediments from which the ostracods were extracted.;Stratigraphic, lithological and sedimentological data, supported by a study of geological maps, borehole logs and papers, are employed to produce a new hypothesis to explain the Quaternary development of the Milton River and the River Nene.;The alignment of the Milton Formation Valley is established to have proceeded to the east of, but parallel with, the Nene Valley between Northampton and Higham Ferrers, where it turned to the south-east. It comprises locally derived deposits which are shown to be pre-Anglian Glaciation and, at the time of the deposition of the ostracods studied here, an interglacial environment prevailed. However, during a "cooling phase", Milton Formation sediments were incised and the channel became partially infilled with fossiliferous boreal sediments. Further sedimentation continued to produce a non-fossiliferous, periglacial sand, which is typical of the Milton Formation. It is argued that this period of deposition was followed by two glacial episodes, the latter relating to the Lowestoft Formation.;Stratigraphic, sedimentological and lithological evidence from the Nene valley shows vestigial terrace gravels exist between Northampton and Wellingborough. The oldest gravels of these features pre-date the Anglian age, sub-glacial "tunnel valley" at Northampton, implying the Nene Valley existed prior to glaciation. Before glaciation it is suggested that the Milton River became confluent with the Nene at Northampton and, concurrently, diverted to the north-east at Higham Ferrers.


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University College Northampton

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University of Leicester

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