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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Phillips, E.R & Evans, D.J.A. Synsedimentary glacitectonic deformation within a glacilacustrine-esker sequence, Teesdale, Northern England. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 2019;130:624-649.

Author(s) from Durham


In glacial sedimentology there has been a recent improvement in the understanding of both progressive and polyphase deformation of glacigenic sequences, and the role played by water during these complex deformation histories. However, the processes occurring during the detachment and transport of sediment blocks during ice-marginal glaciotectonic thrusting remain poorly understood. This lack of understanding is addressed in detail through a macro- and microscale study of the deformation structures in the glacigenic sequence exposed at Hayberries, Teesdale, County Durham (UK), where esker sands and gravels and associated tills truncate and overlie a sequence of rhythmically bedded glacilacustrine sands, silts and clays. Thrusts within the glacilacustrine and glacifluvial sediments appear to be relatively sharp, planar structures. However, orientated thin sections reveal that these bedding-parallel detachments are marked by a thin layer of massive to foliated sand. The geometry of both meso and small-scale folds and sense of displacement on the thrusts is consistent with both brittle and ductile structures having formed in response to ice-push from the N/NW. Detailed analysis of the thin sections reveals that initial folding and thrusting was followed by the liquefaction and injection of a massive, matrix poor sand along the propagating thrust. Evidence for liquefaction and injection (sand-filled veins) increases towards the NW consistent with fluid flow and sediment injection accompanying SE-directed ice-push. These results suggest that the introduction of pressurised meltwater and sediment along the thrusts during deformation may facilitate decoupling and displacement along these detachments by thrust gliding.

Department of Geography