17 May 2018

BRITICE Map Sent to Every Secondary School in the UK

A copy of the BRITICE map, which shows landforms left behind by the last ice age, has been sent to 4,500 secondary schools in the British Isles to be displayed in their geography classrooms.

Britice interactive map, showing glaciers over the UK

A copy of the BRITICE map, which shows landforms left behind by the last ice age, has been sent to 4,500 secondary schools in the British Isles to be displayed in their geography classrooms. The map is a result of the BRITICE project, led by Professor Chris Clark, which aims to bring together published information regarding the geomorphology (landforms) of the last British-Irish ice sheet.

The maps that were sent to schools accompany an online interactive map - as you zoom in you can see how the ice sheet moulded the landscape around you. The latest version (version 2) is the most complete overview of glacial landforms in Britain and Ireland to date, containing over 170,000 landforms.

During the last glacial cycle, around 22,000 years ago, a kilometre-thick ice sheet covered Britain and Ireland. This ice sheet sculpted the landscape, leaving behind landforms which allow us to piece together how this ice sheet, grew, flowed and disappeared.

The landform information tells us about how the last British-Irish ice sheet behaved. For instance, it dammed rivers creating large glacial lakes which covered Manchester, Doncaster and Peterborough. Corridors of fast-flowing ice, known as ice streams, flowed toward the east over Edinburgh and toward the west over Glasgow. Ice also covered the entirety of Ireland, flowing through the Irish Sea, where coalesced with Welsh ice, causing it to flow southward toward the Isles of Scilly.

Most glaciated countries have for some time had some form of 'glacial map' recording landforms and evidence resulting from the activity of former ice sheets, the Glacial Map of Canada being an exemplary example (Prest, V.K., Grant, D.R. and Rampton, V.N. 1968: Glacial map of Canada. Geological Survey of Canada. Map 1253A.) The BRITICE map, however, is the first time we have a compilation map for the last British Ice Sheet.

For more information about the BRITICE project, click here.

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