Aeolian processes and features in cool climates
This review concentrates on the characteristics of wind processes and products in cold lowland deserts. Its main aims are: to show how difficult it can be to separate wind-generated from water-generated processes and features without detailed study of lamination types; to suggest cold aeolian interpretations for some ancient pre-Quaternary rocks; and to encourage students to revisit many ancient deposits with such interpretations in mind. Although upper Quaternary and Recent cold-climate aeolian deposits have been studied for many years there are very few older examples described. Martian features are included since Mars is now one of the most exciting areas of study for geologists.
Figures & Tables
Understanding the sediments deposited by glaciers or other cold-climate processes assumes enhanced significance in the context of current global warming and the predicted melt and retreat of glaciers and ice sheets.
This volume analyses glacial, proglacial and periglacial settings focusing, among others, on sedimentation at termini of tidewater glaciers, on hitherto not-well-understood high-mountain features, and on sediments such as slope and aeolian deposits whose clasts were sourced in glacial and periglacial regions, but have been transported and deposited by azonal processes. Difficulties are thus often encountered in inferring Pleistocene and pre-Pleistocene cold-climate conditions when the sedimentary record lacks many of the specific diagnostic indicators. The main objective of this volume is to establish the validity and limitations of the evidence that can be obtained from widely distributed clastic deposits, in order to achieve reliable palaeogeographic and palaeoclimatic reconstructions. At a more general level and on the much longer geological timescale, an understanding of ice-marginal and periglacial environments may better prepare us for the unavoidable reversal towards cooler and perhaps even glacial times in the future.