Late Middle Pleistocene deposits at Norton Farm on the West Sussex Coastal Plain, Southern England.

MR Bates, Charles Richard Bates, PL Gibbard, RI Macphail, FJ Owen, SA Parfitt, RC Preece, MB Roberts, E Robinson, JE Whittaker, KN Wilkinson

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37 Citations (Scopus)


The coastal plain of West Sussex, southern England, is internationally important because of the sequence of discrete high-sea-level events preserved at Various elevations across it. New evidence is presented from a site at Norton Farm, near Chichester, on the Lower Coastal Plain, where Pleistocene marine sands, fining upwards into silts, occur between 5.3 m and 9.1 m OD. The sequence reflects a regressive tendency at the transition from an interglacial to a cold stage. The marine sands have yielded foraminifera, ostracods and molluscs that indicate a declining marine influence through the sequence, culminating in a tidal mudflat, strongly weathered in places. Cool-climate foraminifera (including Elphidium clavatum, Cassidulina reniformis and Elphidium albiumbilicatum) and ostracods have been recovered from the marine sands. Some species with an apparent preference for warmer water conditions, however, are also present. Freshwater taxa washed into the terminal marine sediments include some cold climate indicators, such as Pisidium stewarti and P. obtusale lapponicum. Additional evidence for cool climatic conditions during the deposition of the upper part of the marine sequence is provided by the lack of tree taxa in the pollen record and by features of the micromorphology. The marine sediments probably began accumulating during OIS 7, a conclusion based on their elevation, on amino acid ratios from shells, but especially on vertebrate evidence, particularly the presence of a small form of horse, together with a large, distinctive, form of northern vole (Microtus oeconomus). The occurrence of cool climate indicators in these marine sediments may demonstrate a lag between the climatic deterioration and the expected glacio-eustatic fall in relative sea-level. This evidence appears to support the conclusions drawn from the study of coral terraces in Barbados. Such a scenario would provide the conditions necessary for the emplacement of the large erratic boulders reported from the Lower Coastal Plain of West Sussex. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-89
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000


  • sea-level
  • regression
  • micromorphology
  • molluscs
  • ostracods
  • vertebrates
  • Foraminifera
  • amino acids
  • erratics
  • interglacial-glacial transition
  • UK


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