New perspectives on the Luoquan Glaciation (Ediacaran‐Cambrian) of North China

Daniel le Heron, Thomas Vandyk, Guanghui Wu, Meng Li

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The Luoquan Formation provides a record of the Ediacaran‐Cambrian glaciation in the North China Craton. The sedimentary record is well expressed in the Henan Province along the central China orogen, and includes a rich archive of striated pavements, diamictites, and dropstone‐bearing laminites. A reappraisal of the sedimentological evolution of the Luoquan Formation notes the following features. First, striated pavements with crosscutting striations do not necessarily record multiple phases of glacial (re)advance, but more likely originate through the development of sticky spots in a palaeo‐ice stream setting. The development of obstacles, basal adfreezing, or porosity variations in the subglacial substrate resulted in curvilinear and bifurcating striae, which can superficially be mistaken for crosscutting striae in isolated sections. Second, “massive” diamictites as previously described are in fact commonly weakly stratified, and there is a continuum from dropstone‐bearing rhythmically bedded shales and siltstones, through stratified diamictites to massive diamictites. This continuum is believed indicative of deposition by rain out from debris rich ice for those diamictites with less pronounced stratification, in contrast to the mass flow hypothesis previously suggested. Third, the presence of large‐scale, recumbent folds with associated thrusts is described at the type section. The suite of large‐scale deformation structures, measuring >30 m in amplitude, is sealed by undeformed diamictites. The deformation structures are interpreted to reflect soft‐sediment deformation produced through ice bulldozing. Integrating these observations, it is proposed that the Luoquan Formation was deposited in a large proglacial lake setting, with a range of ice contact to ice distal environments recognised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-292
Number of pages19
JournalThe Depositional Record
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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