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Micromorphological analysis of poly-phase deformation associated with the transport and emplacement of glaciotectonic rafts at West Runton, north Norfolk, UK

Vaughan-Hirsch, David P.; Phillips, Emrys; Lee, Jonathan R.; Hart, Jane K.. 2013 Micromorphological analysis of poly-phase deformation associated with the transport and emplacement of glaciotectonic rafts at West Runton, north Norfolk, UK. Boreas, 42 (2). 376-394. 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2012.00268.x

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Abstract/Summary

The ability of glaciers to detach and transport bedrock as glaciotectonic rafts is widely observed throughout Quaternary sections. However, the glaciological, hydrological and geological parameters controlling rafting are currently poorly constrained. There is a lack of structural and sedimentary evidence concerning rafting, and therefore the processes driving raft detachment, transport and emplacement are poorly understood. This paper contributes to our understanding by presenting a macro- and microstructural study of deformation associated with a chalk raft at West Runton, north Norfolk. Detailed thin-section analysis reveals several discrete micro-fabric orientations, representing poly-phase deformation occurring during raft transport and emplacement. A four-stage conceptual model for raft transport and emplacement is proposed, with deformation being partitioned into the relatively weaker Happisburgh Till member, the latter forming the host to the raft. Stage 1 is the main transport phase of the chalk raft, and was dominated by easterly (down-ice) directed ductile shearing. During Stage 2 a narrow ductile shear zone within the Happisburgh Till member propagated upwards through the base of the raft, leading to the detachment of an elongate block of chalk. Attenuated lenses of diamicton in this shear zone possess kinematics recording an easterly directed sense of shear. As deformation progressed, during Stage 3, the detached block impinged on the ‘high-strain’ zone wrapping the base of the raft, influencing the style of deformation partitioning and leading to localized, up-ice-directed kinematics. Stage 4 represents the final stages of raft emplacement, when the detachment zone at the base of the raft began to ‘lock-up’. These results demonstrate the relative importance of the hydrological controls associated with raft transport and emplacement underneath an actively advancing glacier. Furthermore, the model represents an example of how micromorphological analysis can reveal detailed poly-phase deformation histories in deformed glacial sediments.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2012.00268.x
ISSN: 0300-9483
Additional Keywords: glacitectonic raft, micromorphology, East Anglia
Date made live: 12 Sep 2013 15:58 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/502946

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