Isostatic Uplift on Iona

August 08, 2008

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Provided and Copyright by: Jeanette Stafford
Summary Author: Jeanette Stafford

Isostatic uplift occurs when land that sagged under the weight of an ice sheet rebounds to its normal level many years after the ice has finally melted. This phenomenon can be seen on the Island of Iona, off Scotland's West coast. Note the large area of gently sloping land at the foot of what were once sea cliffs; now stranded many meters from the new shoreline. The Abbey and houses are built on a series of raised beaches, which have emerged as the land has gradually risen from the sea. Incidentally, Iona is renowned as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland and the Abbey, at center is built on the site of Saint Columba's original monastery. In the background is Dun I, the highest point on the island at about 330 feet (100 m).

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