Active pingos are ice-cored mounds formed within permafrost1. Actual and suspected remnants of such features have been reported widely1–7 from former periglacial and glacial areas of the British Isles (Fig. 1)8–10. They are characteristically located in slope-foot situations with associated present-day springs or poor drainage4–6. Most of the observed features lie between the latitudes of The Wash and River Thames and are generally thought to have originated as open-system pingos11 in the late Devensian. No pre-Devensian pingos have hitherto been recognised. Here I suggest that many of the anomalous, drift-filled, closed depressions in the surface of the rockhead (usually the London Clay) beneath some of the central London terraces, recently reviewed by Berry12, are the partly eroded remains of former open-system pingos, dating both from the Devensian and from earlier cold stages of the Pleistocene.
Access optionsAccess options
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Watson, E. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 280, 183–198 (1977).
Pissart, A. Z. Geomorphol. 7, 147–165 (1963).
Watson, E. Geol. J. 7, 381–392 (1971).
Mitchell, G. F. Nature 230, 43–44 (1971).
Sparks, B. W., Williams, R. B. G. and Bell, F. G. Proc. R. Soc. A 327, 329–343 (1972).
Watson, E. and S. Geogr. Ann. 56 A, 213–225 (1974).
Burton, R. G. O. East Midland Geographer 6, 230–240 (1974–77).
Institute of Geological Sciences Quaternary Map of the United Kingdom 1st edn (1977).
Bowen, D. Q. Quaternary Geology (Pergamon, Oxford, 1978).
Williams, R. B. G. in The Periglacial Environment (ed. Péwé, T. L.) 399–410 (McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 1969).
Müller, F. Meddr. Grønland 153, 1–127 (1959).
Berry, F. G. Q. Jl Engng Geol. 12, 9–29 (1979).
Edmunds, F. H. Mem. Geol. Surv. Summ. Prog. for 1930, 18–24 (1931).
Higginbottom, I. E. & Fookes, P. G. Q. Jl Engng Geol. 3, 85–117 (1970).
Zeuner, F. The Pleistocene Period (Hutchinson, London, 1959).
Rose, J., Turner, C., Coope, G. R. & Bryan, M. D. in Timescales in Geomorphology (eds Cullingford, R. A., Davidson, D. A. & Lewin, J.) 159–175 (Wiley, Chichester, 1980).
Mackay, J. R. Permafrost: Proc. int. Conf. 71–76 (1966).
Brown, R. J. E. & Péwé, T. L. Permafrost: N. Am. Contr. 2nd int. Conf. 71–100 (1973).
Wakeling, T. R. M. & Jennings, R. A. J. Q. Jl Engng Geol. 9, 255–263 (1976).
Lucas, J. Hydrogeological Survey (Stanford, London, 1877).
Holmes, G. W., Hopkins, D. M. & Foster, H. L. U.S. Geol. Surv. Bull. 1241-H, 1–40 (1968).
Williams, J. R. & van Everdingen, R. O. Permafrost: N. Am. Contr. 2nd int. Conf. 435–446 (1973).
O'Brien, R. Meddr Grønland 195, 1–20 (1971).
Bik, M. J. J. Biul. peryglac. 19, 85–130 (1969).
Flemal, R. C. Proc. 24th int. Geol. Congr. Sect. 12, 130–135 (1972).
Mackay, J. R. Biul. peryglac. 27, 133–154 (1978).
About this article
An initial screening tool for water resource contamination due to development in the Olympic Park 2012 site, London
Environmental Earth Sciences (2011)