Anatomy and facies association of a drumlin in Co. Down, Northern Ireland, from seismic and electrical resistivity surveys

David Hughes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Seismic refraction and electrical resistivity geophysical techniques were used to reconstruct the internal architecture of a drumlin in Co. Down, Northern Ireland. Geophysical results were both validated and complemented by borehole drilling, ground water flow modelling, and geologic mapping. The geophysical anatomy of the drumlin consists of five successive layers with depth including; topsoil, partially saturated and saturated glacial tills, and weathered and more competent greywacke bedrock. There are numerous, often extensive inclusions of clay, sand, gravel, cobbles, and boulders within the topsoil and the till units. Together geophysical and geotechnical findings imply that the drumlin is part of the subglacial lodgement, melt-out, debris flow, sheet flow facies described by previous authors, and formed by re-sedimentation and streamlining of pre-existing sediments during deglaciation of the Late Devensian ice sheet. Seismic refraction imaging is particularly well suited to delineating layering within the drumlin, and is able to reconstruct depths to interfaces to within ± 0.5 m accuracy. Refraction imaging ascertained that the weathered bedrock layer is continuous and of substantial thickness, so that it acts as a basal aquifer which underdrains the bulk of the drumlin. Electrical resistivity imaging was found to be capable of delineating relative spatial changes in the moisture content of the till units, as well as mapping sedimentary inclusions within the till. The moisture content appeared to be elevated near the margins of the drumlin, which may infer a weakening of the drumlin slopes. Our findings advocate the use of seismic refraction and electrical resistivity methods in future sedimentological and geotechnical studies of internal drumlin architecture and drumlin formation, owing particularly to the superior, 3- D spatial coverage of these methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)165-176
    Number of pages12
    JournalSpecial Publication of the International Association of Sedimentologists
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


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