Middle Pleistocene

This is the period during which ice sheets reached their maximum extent in NW Europe. Till of Scottish derivation is found in sediments in the central North Sea dated to around 800 kyr and reflect the former existence of a large ice sheet. The palaeo-temperature graph opposite suggests that ice sheets covered Scotland on many subsequent occasions in the Middle Pleistocene. Stratigraphic evidence of many of these ice advances is known from the North Sea and continental shelf west of Scotland.

Glacial deposits extend to the edge of the continental shelf west and north of Shetland. These deposits include till from the Anglian ice sheet which advanced at around 450 kyr but also younger till sheets. It is likely that Shetland ice was confluent periodically with Scandinavian ice east of Shetland on the bed of the northern North Sea.

At Fugla Ness, the lower till predates a warm interglacial phase and probably reflects glaciation of Shetland during Oxygen Isotope Stage 6 around 200-130 ka.

Tertiary  Early Pleistocene  Late Pleistocene  Holocene

Quaternary of the West Shetland Platform

Quaternary of the northern North Sea

Greenland ice cores