This was a study of subglacial deformation till genesis from a modern temperate glacier, at Skálafellsjökull, Iceland. Detailed microscale properties of till samples (from Scanning Electron Microscope [SEM] and thin section analysis) were examined from a glacial site with in situ subglacial process monitoring and an exposed subglacial surface in the foreland. Two lithofacies were examined, a grey sandy till derived from the ash and basalt, and a silty reddish brown till derived from oxidized paleosols and/or tephra layers. These also represented a clay-content continuum from low (0.3%) to high (22.3%). The evolution from debris to subglacial till was investigated. This included a reduction in grain-size (21% for grey lithology, 13% reddish brown lithology), and reduction in rounding (RA) (32% for the grey lithology, 26% for the reddish brown lithology), and the quantification and analysis of the different grain erosion/comminution processes in the resultant till. It was shown that the microstructures within a till were dependent on shear strain and glaciological conditions (deformation history). The low clay content tills were dominated by linear structures (lineations and boudins, and anisotropic microfabric) whilst the higher clay content tills were dominated by rotational structures (turbates and plaster, and isotropic microfabric). These results are important in our understanding of the formation of both modern and Quaternary tills and informs our reconstruction of past glacial dynamics.
Quaternary Science Reviews – Elsevier
Published: Aug 15, 2017
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