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After the Ice


Slip Sliding Away

Melting of the ice left an unstable landscape where loose sand, gravel and rock were easily eroded and washed away. Saturated glacial sediments and rock slumped and slid downhill, sometimes where weak mudstone layers failed or where faults cut the rock. The steep slopes of Mallerstang Edge, east of the Westmorland Dales, display spectacular late- to post-glacial landslides, with scoop-shaped scars and debris piles below.

Large ancient landslide on Mallerstang Edge, viewed from north of Pendragon Castle. Lindrigg Scars (with waterfall) is the landslide’s back scar. The slipped material forms hummocky ground below. © E. Pickett

Cold climates continued intermittently after the ice had melted. Seasonal freeze-thaw processes caused gradual downhill movement of glacial deposits and soil, and also shattered bedrock, leading to accumulations of scree below crags. The northern slopes of Potts Valley and Hazzler Brow Scar on its east side display these features well.

The north side of Potts Valley, showing scree and lobes of debris below folded and faulted limestone (on slopes to left of image). © E. Pickett
View from the steep north side of Potts Valley, showing the extensive scree that is still actively forming below the crags. © E. Pickett