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Hydrofracturing in response to the development of an overpressurised subglacial meltwater system during drumlin formation: an example from Anglesey, NW Wales

Phillips, Emrys; Hughes, Leanne. 2014 Hydrofracturing in response to the development of an overpressurised subglacial meltwater system during drumlin formation: an example from Anglesey, NW Wales. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 125 (3). 296-311. 10.1016/j.pgeola.2014.03.004

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Abstract/Summary

This paper presents the results of a detailed study of a complex hydrofracture system and host diamictons exposed within a longitudinal section through an elongate drumlin located to the west of Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey, NW Wales. This complex, laterally extensive sand, silt and clay filled hydrofracture system was active over a prolonged period and is thought to have developed beneath the Late Devensian (Weichselian) Irish Sea Ice Stream as it overrode this part of NW Anglesey. The sediment-fill to the hydrofracture system is deformed with kinematic indicators (folds, thrusts, augen) recording a SW-directed sense of shear, consistent with the regional ice flow direction across this part of the island. The lack of any geomorphological evidence for active retreat of the Irish Sea ice across Anglesey has led to the conclusion that hydrofracturing at the Cemlyn Bay site occurred within the bed of the Irish Sea Ice Stream whilst this relatively faster flowing corridor of ice was actively overriding the island. Shear imposed by the overriding ice led to the development of a subglacial shear zone which facilitated the propagation of the hydrofracture system with the laterally extensive feeder sills occurring parallel to Y-type Riedel shears. Although a subglacial setting beneath the active Irish Sea Ice Stream can be argued for the Cemlyn Bay hydrofracture system, its relationship to the formation of the ‘host’ drumlin remains uncertain. However, evidence presented here suggests that hydrofracturing may have occurred during the later stages or post landform development in response to the migration of overpressurised meltwater within the bed of the Irish Sea ice; possibly accompanying the local thinning and shutdown of the Irish Sea Ice Stream on Anglesey.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.pgeola.2014.03.004
ISSN: 00167878
Date made live: 24 Jul 2014 15:05 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/507909

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