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Two-stage opening of the Dover Strait and the origin of island Britain

Abstract : 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 setup conditions for island Britain during sea-level highstands and caused large-scale rerouting of NW European drainage.
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-01919351
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Sanjeev Gupta, Jenny Collier, David Garcia-Moreno, Francesca Oggioni, Alain Trentesaux, et al.. Two-stage opening of the Dover Strait and the origin of island Britain. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 8, ⟨10.1038/ncomms15101⟩. ⟨hal-01919351⟩

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