Glaciogenic and associated strata of the Otavi carbonate platform and foreslope, northern Namibia: evidence for large base-level and glacioeustatic changes
Paul F. Hoffman, 2011. "Glaciogenic and associated strata of the Otavi carbonate platform and foreslope, northern Namibia: evidence for large base-level and glacioeustatic changes", The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations, Emmanuelle Arnaud, Galen P. Halverson, Graham Shields-Zhou
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Two discrete, mappable, glaciogenic formations occur within the Otavi Group, a 3±1-km-thick carbonate-dominated platform of late Neoproterozoic age, developed on the SW promontory of the Congo craton in northern Namibia and exposed in bordering late Ediacaran fold belts. Each is overlain abruptly by an expanded postglacial carbonate sequence, the younger of which begins with a globally-correlative transgressive dolopelarenite. The older Chuos glaciation (<746 Ma) occurred during a time of north-south crustal stretching. Debris derived from upturned older rocks collected in structural depressions. The younger Ghaub glaciation (635 Ma) occurred, after stretching ceased, on a thermally-subsiding marine platform and its distally-tapered foreslope. A continuous ice grounding-zone wedge (GZW) occurs on the distal foreslope, while the upper foreslope and outer platform are devoid of glacial debris and only small pockets of lodgement facies exist on the inner platform. Debris in the GZW is derived from a distinctive falling-stand wedge that is unique to the foreslope and from immediately older strata mined preferentially from the inner platform. The GZW rests on a smooth surface that includes a transverse steep-walled trough presumably cut by an ice-stream, within which is a towering doubly-crested moraine composed of composite, massive, carbonate diamictite. The surface suggests that the ice-sheet was grounded on the distal foreslope, implying a large fall in base level at a glacial maximum that predates the GZW. The glacial record ends with Fe-stained beds, rich in ice-rafted debris, that are notably absent from the moraine, upper foreslope and platform, which were apparently above sea-level at that time.
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In recent years, interest in Neoproterozoic glaciations has grown as their pivotal role in Earth system evolution has become increasingly clear. One of the main goals of the IGCP Project No. 512 was to produce a synthesis of newly available information on Neoproterozoic successions worldwide similar in format to Hambrey & Harland’s (1981) Earth’s pre-Pleistocene Glacial Record. This Memoir therefore consists of a series of overview chapters followed by site-specific chapters. The overview chapters cover key topics including the history of research on Neoproterozoic glaciations, identification of glacial deposits, chemostratigraphic techniques and datasets, palaeomagnetism, biostratigraphy, geochronology and climate modelling. The site specific chapters for 60 successions worldwide include reviews of the history of research on these rocks and up-to-date syntheses of the structural framework, tectonic setting, palaeomagnetic and geochronological constraints, physical, biological, and chemical stratigraphy, and descriptions of the glaciogenic and associated strata, including economic deposits.