Palaeozoic glacial depositional environments of SW Saudi Arabia: process and product
Martin Keller, Matthias Hinderer, Hussain Al-Ajmi, Randolf Rausch, 2011. "Palaeozoic glacial depositional environments of SW Saudi Arabia: process and product", Ice-Marginal and Periglacial Processes and Sediments, I. P. Martini, H. M. French, A. PéRez Alberti
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Saudi Arabia is one of the few places in Gondwana where deposits of two Palaeozoic glaciations are well preserved. They were formed under similar conditions in a tectonically stable shelf setting. We studied the sedimentary facies and architectural geometries of Upper Ordovician and Permo-Carboniferous glaciogenic deposits in the Wajid Sandstone and developed a genetic model for both units. Common features and of both glacial episodes are (a) incision of glacial (tunnel?) valleys, (b) subsequent valley fill by proglacial deposits in front of an oscillating, polythermal ice shield; (c) intra-formational erosional events through repeated ice advance, (d) widespread and large-scale soft deformation due to glacial surge during deglaciation, and (e) marine transgression most probably due to eustatic sea-level rise following deglaciation. The general patterns and observations fit well with recently published observations on Upper Ordovician deposits in northern Africa, pointing to closely coupled glaciological processes of the North African–Arabian ice shield. Although the same general patterns apply for the Permo-Carboniferous glaciation, sedimentary styles and petrographical properties differ, probably due to a more heterogeneous ice-flow pattern controlled by a more pronounced topography after the Hercynian tectonic event.