The Port Askaig Formation, Dalradian Supergroup, Scotland
Published:January 01, 2011
Emmanuelle Arnaud, Ian J. Fairchild, 2011. "The Port Askaig Formation, Dalradian Supergroup, Scotland", The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations, Emmanuelle Arnaud, Galen P. Halverson, Graham Shields-Zhou
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The Port Askaig Formation (Fm.) is a thick glaciogenic succession within the Dalradian Supergroup that consists of over 700 m of variably dolomitic diamictite, conglomerate, sandstone mudstone and minor dolomite, and is bounded by mixed siliciclastic–carbonate successions of the Islay (Lossit) and Bonahaven formations. These strata are exposed in the metamorphic Caledonides of Scotland, although excellent preservation of sedimentary structures can be found at several sites. An extensional setting for this succession has been proposed based on stratigraphic and structural arguments. The available chemostratigraphic data include the Chemical Index of Alteration, δ13C and Sr-isotope values. Palaeomagnetic analyses have been shown to be subject to post-depositional Caledonian overprinting. There is also continued debate over the regional palaeogeographical reconstructions of the Scottish promontory for this time period. The succession is chronologically poorly constrained with U–Pb analyses of stratigraphically much higher or lower deposits. The thick succession is thought to record glacially influenced marine sedimentation and reworking of unstable sediments in a tectonically active setting with evidence of ice-margin fluctuations. Alternative palaeoenvironmental interpretations that focus on glacial terrestrial processes and emphasize climatic influence instead of tectonic activity have also been proposed. The overlying carbonate is a lithologically diverse coastal complex and so does not fit the Neoproterozoic norm. Research has to date focused on the stratigraphic and sedimentological aspects of this succession, as well as some of the broader palaeogeographical and structural features of the Dalradian basin. Future efforts should focus on the chronological, structural and palaeogeographical constraints of this succession.
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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.