Macrostructural analysis : unravelling polyphase glacitectonic histories

van der Meer, Jaap J.M.; Thomas, Geoff S.P.; Chiverrell, Richard C.; Lee, Jonathan R.; Phillips, Emrys; Rijsdijk, Kenneth; Warren, William P.. 2011 Macrostructural analysis : unravelling polyphase glacitectonic histories. In: Phillips, E.; Lee, J.R.; Evans, H.M., (eds.) Glacitectonics : Field Guide. Quaternary Research Association, 53-58. (QRA field guides).

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

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Geology and Landscape (England)
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 09 Dec 2011 13:47 +0 (UTC)

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