About this book
The principal aim of this volume is to provide descriptions of Sites of Special Scientific Interest, selected as part of the Geological Conservation Review, that yield evidence for the Pleistocene history of the River Thames and its tributaries. Although defined thematically, the volume covers all Pleistocene GCR sites in the Thames valley. A number of sites in southern East Anglia are also included because they provide important evidence bearing on the history of the Thames system. The justification for a GCR volume devoted to the Thames lies in the special importance of the river in the British Quaternary. The volume is con cerned with the history of Britain over approximately the last two million years of geological time, during the repeated glacial phases of the Quaternary 'Ice Age' and the warmer intervals between them. Many such climatic fluctuations are recorded in the deposits of the Thames, which can be shown to have existed as the predominant west to east drainage line in south-eastern England throughout the Pleistocene. The Thames has left a detailed record of its earlier presence in the form of deposits, which comprise fluvially aggraded floodplain sediments (predominantly gravels) preserved on the valley sides, where they form geomorphological terrace features. The oldest deposits are at the highest levels, forming a terrace 'staircase' that records successive stages in the evolution of the valley.
Europe Pleistocene ocean oceanic quaternary