Sediment provenance and flux in the Tees Estuary: The record from the Late Devensian to the present

A. J. Plater, J. Ridgway, B. Rayner, I. Shennan, B. P. Horton, E. Y. Haworth, M. R. Wright, M. M. Rutherford, A. G. Wintle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The influences of sea-level, climate, human activity and coastal morphology on post-glacial sediment flux and deposition in the Tees Estuary were considered in a multidisciplinary investigation of the Late Pleistocene and Holocene sedimentary record. The following tripartite division was identified using a combination of lithostratigraphic and geochemical data: a Late Glacial laminated clay providing evidence of a former proglacial lake and a proxy record of climate change; an early-mid-Holocene intercalated sequence of tidal silts and clays and peats; and a late Holocene succession characterized by increasing evidence of human activity and metal contamination. Sea-level change has been identified as the main control on sedimentation via decelerating sea-level rise and changing tidal dynamics between c. 8 and 3 ka BP. Climate controlled the sequence of rhythmite thickness in the Late Glacial clays, whilst increased wetness after c. 3 ka BP may have encouraged terrestrial sediment influx. Enhanced sediment supply to the coastal zone can also be attributed to increasing human activity in the catchment from the Bronze Age onward, first as a consequence of clearance, and subsequently as a result of mining and industrial expansion. Fine-grained sediment flux has almost exclusively been from the Tees catchment to the coast, extending offshore during rebound-induced collapse and erosion of the Late Glacial lake basin. The only notable onshore sediment flux has been the deposition of marine sands in the outer estuary between c. 6.5 and 3.5 ka BP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-195
Number of pages25
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Geology


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