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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Roberts, D.H. & Hart, J.K. The deforming bed characteristics of a stratified till assemblage in north East Anglia, UK: investigating controls on sediment rheology and strain signatures. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2005;24:123-140.

Author(s) from Durham


The glacial coastal exposures of north Norfolk are a type site for subglacial glaciotectonic deforming bed sediments. This investigation of the lower stratified diamict within the North Sea Drift at West Runton reveals two distinct lamina types. Type 1 laminae are the product of primary extensional glaciotectonism, with ductile, intergranular pervasive shear predominating over brittle shear. Type 2 laminae also exhibit structures that can be attributed to ductile, intergranular pervasive shear and brittle shear, but the lateral continuity of Type 2 laminae and the presence of dropstone—like structures supports a primary subaqueous origin with secondary subglacial deformation.

When coupled with micromorphological analysis, these findings show that ductile, viscous creep mechanisms control sedimentary architecture, and that ‘shear stratification’ in particular, has the potential to affect the rheological properties of the sediment pile and the hydraulic routing of basal water, ultimately influencing critical effective pressure fluctuations and the thresholds controlling the subglacial drainage system.


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Department of Geography