Abstract

A dropstone horizon is described from lake deposits in a palaeo-valley from the c. 1000 Ma Diabaig Formation, Torridon Group, NW Scotland. Dropstones occur in wave-rippled, fine-grained sandstones and siltstones that contain desiccation and syneresis cracks indicative of fluctuating lake levels. Five locally derived dropstones occur at the same horizon over lateral distance of 250 m and display clear evidence of deflection and penetration of laminae at the base, with thinning, onlap and draping of laminae on to clast margins and tops. Mechanisms of dropstone formation are discussed, with ice-rafting considered the most likely explanation. It is suggested that rafting was promoted by cold winters at 35° S in the early Neoproterozoic, possibly in an upland setting. Interpretation of the dropstones as ice-rafted debris provides the first physical record of evidence for ice at the Earth's surface during the late Mesoproterozoic to early Neoproterozoic.

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