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The Neoproterozoic diamictite-bearing Squantum Member is located in the Boston Basin in eastern Massachusetts, USA. The Boston Basin forms part of the Avalonia island arc terrane (c. 650 Ma), and appears to have originated as a rift-type basin in an extensional setting along the northern margin of Gondwana, although its exact position is debated. Inferred palaeoenvironmental reconstructions of the Boston Basin have alternated between a fluvial basin where ice played a major role in transporting much of the coarse material and an evolving marine basin dominated by non-glacial subaqueous mass flow, submarine fans and turbidity-current deposition.

The age of the Squantum is bracketed between c. 595 and 570 Ma, and is correlated by some to the glaciogenic diamictite succession of the Gaskiers Formation (eastern Newfoundland) as part of the putative global Gaskiers Glaciation c. 582–585 Ma. However, the Squantum Member consists of diamictite, graded sandstone and siltstone units, and fine-grained laminated argillite/mudstone units typical of debris flow and turbidite facies that accumulate in a submarine setting. A glacial influence is not readily identified and revolves around early interpretations of the diamictite as being ‘till-like’, the presence of laminated horizons that resemble glaciolacustrine ‘varvites’ and the disputed recognition of ice-rafted dropstones. There are no associated carbonates and, consequently, no geochemical data are available in connection with the Squantum Member.

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