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Macrostructural analysis : unravelling polyphase glacitectonic histories

By Jaap J.M. van der Meer, Geoff S.P. Thomas, Richard C. Chiverrell, Jonathan R. Lee, Emrys Phillips, Kenneth Rijsdijk and William P. Warren


Many Pleistocene glacial profiles look extremely simple, comprising till, or glacitectonite, overlying\ud older sediments or bedrock (Figure 4.1). In more complex sequences the till may itself be overlain by\ud younger sediments laid down as the ice retreated or during a completely separate, later phase of\ud advance. Macroscopically, subglacial traction tills (Evans et al., 2007) are typically massive,\ud unstructured deposits suggesting that it should be relatively straightforward to unravel the\ud glacitectonic deformation history recorded by the sequence. Many reconstructions do indeed look\ud very simple, slabs of sediment have been tilted and stacked and then overridden by the glacier to\ud cap the structure with till. Added to this is the use of vertical exaggeration which makes the whole\ud structure look like alpine tectonics (for an example see fig. 5 in van Gijssel, 1987). Dropping the\ud exaggeration led to the recognition that actually we were looking at much more horizontal\ud structures, i.e. overriding nappes and not imbricated slabs (van der Wateren, 1987).\ud Traditionally (van der Meer, 1987) glaciotectonics was thought to relate to large structures\ud like big push moraines and not to smaller structures like drag structures underneath tills (Figure 4.2),\ud let alone to the tills themselves. With the notion that deforming bed tills are tectonically and not\ud sedimentologically structured and could be regarded as tectomicts (Menzies et al., 2006), comes the\ud realisation that glacitectonics happens across a wide range of scales, from the microscopic to tens of\ud kilometres. Only by realising the full range of glaciotectonic scales can we hope to understand the\ud processes

Topics: Earth Sciences
Publisher: Quaternary Research Association
Year: 2011
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