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A mid-Holocene alluvial deposit beneath blanket peat in the Upper Liffey Valley, county Wicklow, Ireland

Martin Thorp, Peter Glanville


A 750m section on a hillside in the upper Liffey Valley, county Wicklow has exposed a small valley buried beneath blanket peat. The section shows two alluvial sequences underlain by a stone line over regional till and weathered granite. 14C dates from wood in the sediments indicate that the older alluvium formed between 4950-4550 cal. BP and the younger between 3470-3000 cal. BP. Wood in the basal layer of the overlying peat yielded a date of 2310-2150 cal. BP. The younger alluvium shows the effects of soil paludification prior to the peat expansion and dated pollen analyses elsewhere in the upper catchment show that blanket peat began spreading over most areas above 350m after 4000-3600 BP. The buried valley contributed sediments to the mid-Holocene floodplains in the upper Liffey valley prior to the extension of blanket peat.

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