Substratum control on tunnel-valley formation in Denmark
Published:January 01, 2012
Peter B. E. Sandersen, Flemming Jørgensen, 2012. "Substratum control on tunnel-valley formation in Denmark", Glaciogenic Reservoirs and Hydrocarbon Systems, M. Huuse, J. Redfern, D. P. Le Heron, R. J. Dixon, A. Moscariello, J. Craig
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Tunnel valleys formed by meltwater erosion underneath the margins of the Pleistocene ice sheets are present in high numbers in the Danish onshore area. The geographical distribution of the buried tunnel valleys is uneven, but when comparing with the substrata lithology we find a large number of valleys in areas dominated by low-permeable sediment and a smaller number in areas with highly permeable substrata. The observations point to the drainage capacity of the ice-sheet substratum as an important factor controlling tunnel-valley formation. Tunnel-valley formation appears to be favoured in areas with low-permeable substrata because meltwater drainage through the sediments is impeded, leading to the formation of a channelized subglacial drainage system. The high transmissivity in areas dominated by permeable substrata facilitates drainage of a part of the meltwater as groundwater. This causes a lowering of the subglacial meltwater pressures, and tunnel-valley formation is less likely. Once formed and filled, the tunnel valleys cause a change of the hydraulic properties of the substratum and if subglacial water pressures underneath a subsequent ice advance are sufficiently high, old tunnel valleys will be prone to reactivation.
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Glaciogenic Reservoirs and Hydrocarbon Systems
Glaciogenic reservoirs and hydrocarbon systems occur intermittently throughout the stratigraphic record, with particular prominence in Neoproterozoic, Late Ordovician, Permo-Carboniferous and Late Cenozoic strata. Recent interest in glaciogenic successions has been fuelled by hydrocarbon discoveries in ancient glaciogenic reservoirs in North Africa, the Middle East, Australia and South America. Glaciogenic deposits of Pleistocene age are noteworthy for their content of groundwater onshore and potentially prospective and/or hazardous gas accumulations offshore. The abundant imprints of Pleistocene glaciations in both hemispheres can be used to reconstruct complex histories of repeated ice cover and retreat, and glacier-bed interactions, thus informing our view on the dynamics of older ice caps and predictions of future glaciations. This volume aims to provide a better understanding of glaciogenic processes, their stratigraphic record and reservoir characteristics of glaciogenic deposits. The book comprises 3 overview papers and 16 original case studies of Neoproterozoic to Pleistocene successions on 6 continents and will be of interest to sedimentologists, glaciologists, geophysicists, hydrologists and petroleum geologists alike.