Glacially moulded landslide runout debris in the Scottish Highlands

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A tongue of hummocky terrain ∼1 km long and ∼400 m wide extends downslope from the source area of a rock-slope failure that formed the summit arête of Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan in the NW Highlands. The tongue descends from ∼810 m to ∼650 m, crosses a corrie obliquely and laps onto an opposing slope. Individual hummocks are circular to elongate, up to 6 m high and streamlined. A possible origin as recessional or ice-stagnation moraines is inconsistent with hummock morphology and the alignment of the hummock belt, and the streamlining of the hummocks is incompatible with the form of unmodified rock-avalanche runout hummocks. It is proposed that the tongue of hummocky terrain represents rock-slope failure during or after ice-sheet deglaciation, and subsequent modification of runout debris by subglacial erosion during the Loch Lomond Stade (∼12.9–11.7 ka). This interpretation implies (i) that the debris was deposited by an excess-runout rock avalanche; (ii) that the glacier that subsequently occupied the corrie was warm-based; (iii) that Lateglacial landslide runout debris was not invariably evacuated by Loch Lomond Stadial glaciers, as previously suggested; and (iv) that some features interpreted as hummocky moraines elsewhere may have a similar origin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224–236
Number of pages13
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number3-4
Early online date19 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Glacial bedforms
  • Hummocks
  • Lateglacial
  • Loch Lomond Stade
  • Rock avalanche
  • Rock-slope failure


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