Evidence of late Neoproterozoic glaciation in the Caledonides of NW Scandinavia
Published:January 01, 2011
F. Stodt, A. H. N. Rice, L. Björklund, G. Bax, G. P. Halverson, T. C. Pharaoh, 2011. "Evidence of late Neoproterozoic glaciation in the Caledonides of NW Scandinavia", The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations, Emmanuelle Arnaud, Galen P. Halverson, Graham Shields-Zhou
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The northwestern part of the Scandinavian Caledonides, formed by SE- to ESE-directed thrusting through the Neoproterozoic W. Baltica continental shelf, contains numerous small and often isolated outcrops of diamictite and associated strata. No precise biostratigraphic or isotopic data are available to constrain the age of these sediments, but, on the basis of their stratigraphic position, most are correlated with the Mortensnes Formation (Fm.) in E. Finnmark and also presumed to be of glaciogenic origin. The Mortensnes Fm. has been correlated with the 580 Ma Gaskiers glacial event on the basis of δ13C isotope studies. Structurally, the deposits occur in the Autochthon (below the Torneträsk Fm.), within an external imbricate zone (Lower Allochthon), within cover successions lying unconformably on allochthonous basement (Window Allochthon) palaeogeographically derived from below or outboard of the Lower Allochthon and, more rarely, within the Middle Allochthon, derived from outboard of the Window Allochthon. Evidence for a glaciogenic origin is typically poor or lacking. Only in the Komagfjord Antiformal Stack (Window Allochthon), where an up to 40-m-thick succession of three fining upwards cycles has been mapped, are the deposits comparable in thickness and complexity to the Mortensnes Fm. Other sequences are sometimes <1 m thick and unconformably overlain by post-‘glacial’ deposits. The Vakkejokk Breccia, a submarine slump in the Torneträsk area of the Autochthon closely underlies the correlative Precambrian–Cambrian lithostratigraphic boundary in E. Finnmark but overlies the first appearance of the boundary marker fossil Treptichnus pedum. Although sometimes interpreted as periglacial, this seems unlikely in view of the 30–50° palaeolatitude during deposition. Calcite nodules (<1 cm size) in the Vakkejokk Breccia have previously been interpreted as glendonite, but the microstructure and palaeolatitude makes this unlikely; they are likely a replacement of gypsum. Diamictites of uncertain origin have also been found in the Ediacaran Lower Siltstone Member of the Torneträsk Fm. and unconformably under the ?Lower Cambrian Lomvatn Fm. in the Komagfjord Antiformal Stack.
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The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations
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.