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Abstract

The architecture, distribution and development of channelized sandstone bodies are described from Late Ordovician paraglacial successions of the Tassili N'Ajjer (SE Algeria and SW Libya) based on satellite images and field data (sedimentary logs, photomosaics). Sandstone bodies have a ribbon-like form at outcrop (often referred to as ‘cordons’ in the literature). They typify a fluvioglacial outwash plain deposited between a continental ice front and a marine delta-front zone. Channelized sandstone bodies are straight to sinuous, with widths (W) in the 60–600 m range, thicknesses (T) in the 5–30 m range and they have a mean W/T ratio of 16.5. They develop within an aggradational–progradational sand-dominated deltaic topset succession including at its distal end a terminal distributary channel and mouth-bar environments. The architecture of channel bodies and the related depositional facies, which includes climbing-dune cross-stratification, indicates that channelized sandstone bodies represent plugs of isolated channels related to high-magnitude flood events (glacier outbursts). These plugs form fossilized networks of both braided channels and interlaced anastomosed channels, offering snapshots of an outburst-related unconfined proglacial outwash braidplain constituted by the amalgamation of adjacent, elongated outwash fans.

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