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Abstract

Deglacial sedimentary sequences recording the decay and final demise of ice sheets result from intricate interactions between the pattern of ice margin retreat, inherited basin physiography and relative sea-level (RSL) changes. A specific emphasis is here given to the glacio-isostatic adjustment (GIA), which may force postglacial local RSL fall in spite of concomitant glacio-eustatic rise. In this contribution, we characterize a Quaternary deglacial succession emplaced in such a setting, subsequently used as an analogue to interpret an end-Ordovician deglacial record. The Quaternary deglacial succession, tens of metres thick, formed under condition of RSL fall forced by the GIA in c. 10 000 years in the aftermath of the deglaciation. This sedimentary succession consists of a lower, fining-upward sequence representing the backstepping of ice-contact depocentres following the retreat of the ice margin, and an upper, coarsening-upward sequence that relates to the subsequent progradation of a glaciofluvial delta system. A very similar stratigraphic stacking pattern characterizes the Ordovician analogue, suggesting a comparable deglacial sequence. By analogy with the Quaternary succession, this ancient deglacial record would have hence been emplaced under conditions of RSL fall forced by the GIA. Moreover, it must only represent a very short time interval that could be viewed as virtually instantaneous regarding the Late Ordovician glaciation. Such a vision is at odds with commonly accepted interpretations for such successions.

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