Abstract

Studies of modern glaciers have recently drawn attention to the importance of subglacial sediment deformation to glacier dynamics and processes. Inferences regarding the probable shear strength of this sediment imply that large clasts may in some cases sink to underlying rigid sediment, where abrasion by overlying deforming sediment could occur. This scenario provides a formative mechanism for striated clast pavements commonly described from the base of fine-grained massive diamictons associated with the late Pleistocene Laurentide ice sheet. Such a mechanism indicates that, at the time of formation of clast pavements, overlying diamictons associated with pavements had a low yield strength (≤0.5 kPa) and were deforming mechanically like a debris flow. Clast pavements may therefore be an important criterion for recognition of sediments deposited by subglacial deformation transport.

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