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Grain textural analysis across a range of glacial facies

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A technique proposed by Hooke and Iverson (1995) to identify deformed subglacial sediments is reviewed and tested, based on two main objectives. First, an investigation of whether the fractal dimension can distinguish between non-deformed and deformed facies; for which we compare supraglacial and subglacial facies explicitly. Second, an evaluation of whether the fractal dimension can be used as a diagnostic criteria to discriminate between different styles and degrees of basal deformation. This is tested using a range of sediments from the deformation continuum suggested by Hart and Boulton (1991b). Sixteen subglacial samples were selected from Quaternary sites in England and three supraglacial samples from the modern Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. The mean fractal dimension for the subglacial diamicton matrix facies was 2.92, similar to findings of 2.90 by Hooke and Iverson (1995)for their basal tills. The supraglacial facies displayed a mean fractal dimension of 2.83, which is unusually high for facies which are assumed to be undeformed. A Mann–Whitney U test showed that fractal dimensions of supraglacial and subglacial diamicton matrix facies were not significantly different. No significant difference was found between the fractal dimensions of the different tectonic facies within the subglacial group. It may be impossible to separate the subglacial and supraglacial facies because of complex debris paths within the glacier. Grain fracture or parent lithology may affect the particle-size distribution of subglacial facies.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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