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Diamictite

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Diamictite

Diamict from Stolpe, eastern Germany
'Snowball Earth'-type diamictite from the Pocatello Formation, Idaho, USA
Boulder of diamictite of the Mineral Fork Formation, Antelope Island, Utah, USA
Elatina Fm diamictite below Ediacaran GSSP site in the Flinders Ranges NP, South Australia. A$1 coin for scale.

Diamictite (; from Greek δια (dia-): through and µεικτός (meiktós): mixed) is a type of lithified sedimentary rock that consists of nonsorted to poorly sorted terrigenous sediment containing particles that range in size from clay to boulders, suspended in a matrix of mudstone or sandstone. The term was coined by Flint and others as a purely descriptive term, devoid of any reference to a particular origin.[1] Some geologists restrict the usage to nonsorted or poorly sorted conglomerate or breccia that consists of sparse, terrigenous gravel suspended in either a mud or sand matrix.[2]

Unlithified diamictite is referred to as diamicton.

The term diamictite is often applied to nonsorted or poorly sorted, lithified glacial deposits such as glacial tillite, and diamictites are often mistakenly interpreted as having an essentially glacial origin (see Snowball Earth). The most common origin for diamictites, however, is deposition by submarine mass flows like turbidites and olistostromes in tectonically active areas, and they can be produced in a wide range of other geological conditions. Possible origins include:[3][4]

References

  1. ^ Flint, R.F., J.E. Sanders, and J. Rodgers (1960) Diamictite, a substitute term for symmictite Geological Society of America Bulletin. 71(12):1809–1810.
  2. ^ Tucker, M.E. (2003) Sedimentary Rocks in the Field John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., New York, New York. 244 pp. ISBN 978-0-470-85123-4
  3. ^ Eyles, N.; Januszczak, N. (2004). "’Zipper-rift’: A tectonic model for Neoproterozoic glaciations during the breakup of Rodinia after 750 Ma". Earth-Science Reviews 65 (1-2): 1-73. (pdf 4 Mb)
  4. ^ Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 65, No. 12, pp. 2007–2016, 2001. (pdf 470 Kb)Geochemistry and petrology of Witwatersrand and Dwyka diamictites from South Africa: Search for an extraterrestrial component.Huber, H., Koeberl, C., McDonald, I., Reimold, W.U.:

Further reading

  • Deynoux, M., et al. (Editors) (2004) Earth's Glacial Record, Cambridge University Press, pp. 34–39 ISBN 0-521-54803-9

External links

  • Illustration of a Canadian diamictite
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