Two main groups of landforms are recognised that result from deposition by ice:

  • glacial forms, deposited directly from ice
  • glacifluvial forms, deposited by meltwater

Examples from both groups of landforms are represented on Orkney. These landforms may be also be classified in terms of their position relative to the former glacier, as subglacial, englacial, supraglacial, marginal and proglacial landforms.

Glacial deposition is largely confined to low-lying areas on Orkney, where thicknesses of till may exceed 10 m. The glacial deposits drape the landscape, smoothing its outlines. Ice-marginal features are largely unrecognised outside Hoy and the glacial landforms relate mainly to the passage of the last ice sheet. Locally, multiple till sequences occur but it is uncertain if any predate the last ice sheet.

Dissected drumlin, Red Banks, Shapinsay

  • Westray is the furthest northwest of the Orkney islands. The total area is 47 square kilometres, not huge but the irregular shape gives it a long coastline of almost 80 kilometres, a good place to look for glacial striations. The bedrock of the whole of the island is made up of the cyclical Rousay Flagstone Formation. ...

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  • Glacial deposition is largely confined to low-lying areas on Orkney, where thicknesses of till may exceed 10 m. The glacial deposits drape the landscape, smoothing its outlines. Ice-marginal features are largely unrecognised outside Hoy ...

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  • In the gently-dipping sandstone terrain of Orkney, it is often difficult to pick out classic landforms of glacial erosion. Low-lying areas often show a pronounced SW-NE grain to the topography, parallel to the main direction of ice sheet flow. ...

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  • During the periods of maximum cold in the Quaternary, major ice sheets covered Scotland. An ice stream hundreds of metres thick curved out from the Moray Firth to cross the plain of Caithness and flow over Orkney towards ice limits close to the edge of continental shelf.

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