Calcrete morphology and karst development in the Upper Old Red Sandstone at Milton Ness, Scotland
Donna F. Balin, 2000. "Calcrete morphology and karst development in the Upper Old Red Sandstone at Milton Ness, Scotland", New Perspectives on the Old Red Sandstone, P. F. Friend, B. P. J. Williams
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The Upper Old Red Sandstone at Milton Ness, Scotland, is notable for its excellent preservation of calcrete textures, which are comparable with some of the best Quaternary examples. It is also significant for the implications that can be drawn from the association between karst and calcrete, with this example interpreted to have formed entirely within a semi-arid environment. Karst cavities were developed in a mature hardpan calcrete, generated in sandy fluvial sediments with associated aeolian deposits. Subsequent to karst cavity generation, clasts derived from the subaerially exposed hardpan were locally transported and deposited as a laterally traceable bed connecting the tops of all the cavities. Both this bed and the karst infills were subsequently recalcretized in the final phase of the profile's evolution. Although calcrete–karst associations often are interpreted as the alternation between semi-arid and humid climates, respectively, this example is interpreted to be a result of water accumulating on the nearly impervious hardpan surface under fairly constant semi-arid conditions, evidenced by the recalcretization of both the karst infill and the calcrete-derived breccia (‘boulder calcrete’). Additional substrate modification also has taken place by plant roots; the remarkable development of rhizoliths in these Old Red Sandstone sediments should emphasize the need to consider plant influence on other non-marine rocks of post-Silurian age.
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New Perspectives on the Old Red Sandstone
From the 1960s onwards, the Old Red Sandstone of both borders of the Atlantic Ocean has acted as a test-bed for the development of new ideas on the interpretation of fluvial, lacustrine and aeolian sedimentary rocks, and the investigation of tectonically-active basins. Much of the earlier reconnaissance work is now being reviewed in the light of further detailed field study, along with new developments in the understanding of the biostratigraphy, palaeobiology, geochronology, pedogenesis and tectonics.
Three general papers review recent work on the stratigraphical and chronological analysis of the Late Silurian, Devonian and Early Carboniferous strata, and summarize present understanding of the tectonics of the basins. These are then followed by twenty-seven contributions covering new work in Eastern USA, Canada, Ireland, Britain, Norway, Greenland and Spitsbergen.