Microtextural analysis of a glacially ‘deformed’ bedrock : implications for inheritance of preferred clast orientations in diamictons

Phillips, Emrys; Auton, Clive. 2008 Microtextural analysis of a glacially ‘deformed’ bedrock : implications for inheritance of preferred clast orientations in diamictons. Journal of Quaternary Science, 23 (3). 229-240.

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Although analysis of clast macrofabrics have been used to differentiate between different types of glacial diamictons and to determine palaeo ice-flow directions, no account appears to have been made of preferred clast orientations inherited from the parental source material. Clast macrofabrics in tills are typically interpreted as having developed in response to an imposed subglacial deformation and as such provide a link between the sedimentary record and glacier dynamics. They rely on the assumption that any preferred clast orientation is a result of deformation/flow. The results of the micromorphological study of the Langholm Till exposed at North Corbelly near Dumfries (SW Scotland) clearly demonstrates that bedrock structure can influence clast orientation (macrofabric) within diamictons. In the lower part of the till, the orientation of elongate clasts preserves the geometry of the tectonic cleavage present within the underlying bedrock. The intensity of this steeply inclined, ‘inherited’ clast fabric decreases upward through the till, to be replaced by a more complex pattern of successive generations of clast microfabrics developed in response to deformation/flow. These results indicate potential limitations of applying clast macrofabric or microfabric analysis in isolation to establish till genesis or palaeo-ice flow directions. Consequently, due account should be made of other glacial palaeoenvironmental and ice flow indicators, as well as rockhead depth and morphology in relation to the selection of fabric measurements sites.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2008 > Geology and Landscape Scotland
ISSN: 0267-8179
Additional Keywords: Micromorphology
NORA Subject Terms: Glaciology
Earth Sciences
Date made live: 20 Aug 2008 13:00 +0 (UTC)

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