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Two-stage opening of the Dover Strait and the origin of island Britain
Gupta, S.; Collier, J.S.; Garcia-Moreno, D.; Oggioni, F.; Trentesaux, A.; Vanneste, K.; De Batist, M.; Camelbeeck, T.; Potter, G.; Van Vliet-Lanoë, B.; Arthur, J.C.R. (2017). Two-stage opening of the Dover Strait and the origin of island Britain. Nature Comm. 8: 12 pp.
In: Nature Communications. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2041-1723; e-ISSN 2041-1723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Gupta, S.
  • Collier, J.S.
  • Garcia-Moreno, D., more
  • Oggioni, F.
  • Trentesaux, A.
  • Vanneste, K., more
  • De Batist, M., more
  • Camelbeeck, T., more
  • Potter, G.
  • Van Vliet-Lanoë, B.
  • Arthur, J.C.R.

    Late Quaternary separation of Britain from mainland Europe is considered to be a consequence of spillover of a large proglacial lake in the Southern North Sea basin. Lake spillover is inferred to have caused breaching of a rock ridge at the Dover Strait, although this hypothesis remains untested. Here we show that opening of the Strait involved at least two major episodes of erosion. Sub-bottom records reveal a remarkable set of sediment-infilled depressions that are deeply incised into bedrock that we interpret as giant plunge pools. These support a model of initial erosion of the Dover Strait by lake overspill, plunge pool erosion by waterfalls and subsequent dam breaching. Cross-cutting of these landforms by a prominent bedrock-eroded valley that is characterized by features associated with catastrophic flooding indicates final breaching of the Strait by high-magnitude flows. These events set-up conditions for island Britain during sea-level highstands and caused large-scale re-routing of NW European drainage.

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