New Perspectives on Glacial Geomorphology in Earth’s Deep Time Record

D. P. Le Heron, M. E. Busfield, X. Chen, M. Corkeron, B. J. Davies, P. Dietrich, J. F. Ghienne, C. Kettler, L. Scharfenberg, T. M. Vandyk, R. Wohlschlägl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The deep time (pre-Quaternary) glacial record is an important means to understand the growth, development, and recession of the global cryosphere on very long timescales (106–108 Myr). Sedimentological description and interpretation of outcrops has traditionally played an important role. Whilst such data remain vital, new insights are now possible thanks to freely accessible aerial and satellite imagery, the widespread availability and affordability of Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles, and accessibility to 3D rendering software. In this paper, we showcase examples of glaciated landscapes from the Cryogenian, Ediacaran, Late Ordovician and Late Carboniferous where this approach is revolutionizing our understanding of deep time glaciation. Although some problems cannot be overcome (erosion or dissolution of the evidence), robust interpretations in terms of the evolving subglacial environment can be made. Citing examples from Australia (Cryogenian), China (Ediacaran), North and South Africa (Late Ordovician, Late Carboniferous), and Namibia (Late Carboniferous), we illustrate how the power of glacial geomorphology can be harnessed to interpret Earth’s ancient glacial record.

Original languageEnglish
Article number870359
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022

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