Abstract

This reconstruction of the Late Ordovician, glacigenic Pakhuis Formation of the Table Mountain Group is based on a variety of diverse datasets. Field observations were made over the full 300 km extent of exposure in a north-south direction. The thin glacigenic package constitutes a minor interlude in the development of a subcontinental, Palaeozoic, siliciclastic basin. The Pakhuis Formation is of special interest because it includes features like the extensive penecontemporaneous folding, an erosional unconformity and the uniform lithological character of the sandy diamictites. A model is presented by which an unusual concurrence of circumstances produced the special features of the Pakhuis glacigenics. These are the ice invasion of a developing basin, an onset zone within basin and a deep trough harboring an ice-stream. Subglacial, grounding zone and iceberg facies associations with their lateral variations are developed. The temperate, glaciation of relative short duration, comprised one major and a second minor advance. During the first advance the grounded ice sheet with slow-moving sheet-flow reached ice-stream characteristics along at least part of a trough. The occurrence of an ice-stream within a slow-moving, low-profile ice sheet provides the glaciological environment for ice-stream draw-down, flanking infill of ice, resulting in compressional ice-flow from the sides. The fundamental requirement for buckling (i.e. the development of the Fold Zone) is layer parallel shortening achieved by the compressional ice-flow. Ice-bed interface features like deforming–bed structures are developed, as well as outsize flutes for which an alternative bulk strain model is proposed. The glacial retreat was rapid, interrupted only by the second, minor advance. A marine environment is attested by the postglacial fauna of a black shale.

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