Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The age and stratigraphic context of the Easington Raised Beach, County Durham, UK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bethan J. Davies, David R. Bridgland, David H. Roberts, Colm O. Cofaigh, Stephen M. Pawley, Ian Candy, Beatrice Demarchi, Kirsty E. H. Penkman, William E. N. Austin

School/Research organisations


The Easington Raised Beach, in Shippersea Bay, County Durham, is the most northerly known interglacial beach deposit in England. It lies directly on Magnesian Limestone bedrock at 33 m O.D. and is covered by glacial sediments attributed to the Devensian. Detailed sedimentological analysis suggests that it is an interglacial beach, which is supported by the presence of pebbles bored by marine organisms and littoral, temperate-climate, marine macro- and micro-fossils. It comprises beds of unconsolidated, bedded, imbricated, well-rounded sands and gravels, overlain by similar, but calcreted, deposits. The gravel fraction is dominated by Magnesian and Carboniferous limestone, with orthoquartzite, flint, and porphyries also present; these are far-travelled erratics that must have derived from the erosion of older glacially transported sediments. Previous workers have described erratics derived from the Oslofjord region of Norway in the raised beach gravel, although rocks diagnostic of a Scandinavian origin have not been recovered as part of this study. The heavy-mineral Suite is rich in epidote, dolomite, clinopyroxenes, garnet, tourmaline, and micas. The beach was dated previously by conventional amino acid analysis of the shells, which suggested a Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 7 age, albeit with a reworked component from MIS 9. This has been confirmed by new optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dates, which indicate that the beach formed between 240 and 200 ka BP. New amino acid racemisation analyses, using a modified technique, broadly support this interpretation but Must await more comparative data before they can be assessed fully. The strong indication of an MIS 7 age for the formation of the beach has implications for the uplift history of northeastern England during the Pleistocene, and indicates an uplift rate of 0.19 mm a(-1). The stable isotope geochemistry indicates that the cementation occurred during an interglacial period, whilst U-Series dating of the cement indicates that cementation occurred mostly during the Holocene, and is genetically related to the overlying Devensian till. This work has formed part of a full re-appraisal of the glacial sequence in eastern County Durham, the results of which suggest that the Warren House Formation pre-dates the raised beach, and that the Devensian Horden Till overlies the raised beach. (C) 2009 The Geologists' Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalProceedings of the Geologists' Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Research areas


Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Organic carbon rich sediments: benthic foraminifera as bio-indicators of depositional environments

    Lo Giudice Cappelli, E., Clarke, J., Smeaton, C., Davidson, K. & Austin, W. E. N., 6 Nov 2019, In : Biogeosciences. 16, p. 4183-4199 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Consistently dated Atlantic sediment cores over the last 40 thousand years

    Waelbroeck, C., Lougheed, B. C., Vazquez Riveiros, N., Missiaen, L., Pedro, J., Dokken, T., Hajdas, I., Wacker, L., Abbott, P., Dumoulin, J-P., Thil, F., Eynaud, F., Rossignol, L., Fersi, W., Albuquerque, A. L., Arz, H., Austin, W. E. N., Came, R., Carlson, A. E., Collins, J. A. & 43 others, Dennielou, B., Desprat, S., Dickson, A., Elliot, M., Farmer, C., Giraudeau, J., Gottschalk, J., Henderiks, J., Hughen, K., Jung, S., Knutz, P., Lebreiro, S., Lund, D. C., Lynch-Stieglitz, J., Malaizé, B., Marchitto, T., Martínez-Méndez, G., Mollenhauer, G., Naughton, F., Nave, S., Nürnberg, D., Oppo, D., Peck, V., Peeters, F. J. C., Penaud, A., Portilho-Ramos, R. D. C., Repschläger, J., Roberts, J., Rühlemann, C., Salgueiro, E., Sanchez Goni, M. F., Schönfeld, J., Scussolini, P., Skinner, L. C., Skonieczny, C., Thornalley, D., Toucanne, S., Rooij, D. V., Vidal, L., Voelker, A. H. L., Wary, M., Weldeab, S. & Ziegler, M., 2 Sep 2019, In : Scientific Data. 6, 12 p., 165.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Impacts of ocean acidification on intertidal benthic foraminiferal growth and calcification

    Guamán-Guevara, F., Austin, H., Hicks, N., Streeter, R. & Austin, W. E. N., 21 Aug 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 8, 21 p., e0220046.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. A qualitative risk assessment for the impacts of climate change on nationally and internationally important geoheritage sites in Scotland

    Wignall, R. M. L., Gordon, J. E., Brazier, V., MacFadyen, C. C. J. & Everett, N. S., Apr 2018, In : Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 129, 2, p. 120-134

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, Scotland: geoconservation history and challenges

    Brazier, V., Gordon, J. E., Faulkner, M., Warner, D., Hoole, K. & Blair, J., Feb 2017, In : Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 128, 1, p. 151-162 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Progress in marine geoconservation in Scotland’s seas: assessment of key interests and their contribution to Marine Protected Area network planning

    Gordon, J. E., Brooks, A. J., Chaniotis, P. D., James, B. D., Kenyon, N. H., Leslie, A. B., Long, D. & Rennie, A. F., Dec 2016, In : Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 127, 6, p. 716-737

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Glaciation and deglaciation of the SW Lake District, England: implications of cosmogenic 36Cl exposure dating

    Ballantyne, C. K., Stone, J. O. & Fifield, L. K., 2009, In : Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 120, 2-3, p. 139-144

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 2085237