Part 2: The Physical Thames
The TDP seeks to increase our understanding of the physical evolution of the Thames through the last10,000 years, as well as explore some of the strategies adopted by humans in relation to changes in theenvironment and climate. The rate of erosion of the Thames estuary coast by stormy seas, and of coastaland inland features by landslips and wind action, are significantly affected by climatic variation. Ourforeshore survey produces data of direct relevance to issues of environmental change, such as assessingchanges in prevailing winds and wind direction, ocean currents, prevailing sea temperatures, theoccurrence of ice on rivers, lakes and seas, river levels and river mechanics. Specific questions we hope toaddress are:
Where was the tidal head of the Thames at different times?
What was the shape of the riverbank at different times in the past? What is the size of thefloodplain, or inter-tidal zone? Where are the islands of the Thames today, and where mightthey have been in the past?
What was the evolution of the Thames drainage system at different times? Where were thetributaries of the Thames? When were different tributaries buried / canalised?
What is the change in river-levels? What is the evidence for the tidal range; the high andlow tides at different times? Is there evidence for rises and falls in the relative river levelthrough time?
What is the stratigraphic sequence of the Thames foreshore? Can we map the evidence forclay, silt and peat to determine the horizontal sequences of deposition and erosion? Wherewere the marshes, beaches, woodlands and meadows of the Thames?
What is the impact of infrastructure development such as embanking, bridge and pontoonconstruction on the river mechanics?
What could assessment of geological samples from the foreshore tell us?
What is the evidence for flood events?
Satellite view of the Thames