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Abstract

The application of Quaternary geology and glacial sedimentology is given as a broad guide for geochemical exploration in glaciated terrain. Predictive models of glacial dispersal provide an important basis for tailoring drift prospecting methods to suit regional variations in ice flow history and dynamics. The models relate compositional variations in glacial dispersal trains to ice flow direction, glacial history and subglacial processes. They are continually refined with reference to the geological and physical properties of the ice bed; new empirical field evidence constraining particle trajectories; and knowledge of subglacial processes affecting glacial erosion, transport and deposition. Transport at the ice bed leads to an exponencial decrease in indicator concentrations with increasing distance of glacial transport, whereas linear decrease is associated with englacial transport, and may be characteristic of ice streams. The partitioning of rock and mineral fragments through subglacial comminution leads to compositional differences among size fractions that can reflect intensity of subglacial process, distance of transport, and provenance; hence, the choice of size fraction is important to drift prospecting by geochemical methods.

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