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Interstratal dewatering origin for polygonal patterns of sand-filled cracks: a case study from late Proterozoic metasediments of Islay, Scotland

Tanner, P.W.G (1998) Interstratal dewatering origin for polygonal patterns of sand-filled cracks: a case study from late Proterozoic metasediments of Islay, Scotland. Sedimentology, 45 (1). pp. 71-89. ISSN 0037-0746 (doi:10.1046/j.1365-3091.1998.00135.x)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-3091.1998.00135.x

Abstract

Sand-filled cracks from the Lower Fine-grained Quartzite of Dalradian (late Proterozoic) age on the Island of Islay, western Scotland, may be divided into two main types, both of which form orthogonal and non-orthogonal closed patterns on bedding surfaces. Type 1 cracks are short and lenticular in cross-section, contain sand which had been injected downwards, and are found on the bottoms of cross-laminated sandstone beds. Type 2 cracks cut several beds and preserve evidence of upward flow of water-saturated sand. Both types of crack developed through the interstratal intrusion of water-saturated sand into shrinkage cracks in mud or muddy sand, not, as previously thought, as a result of sub-aerial desiccation, or sub-aqueous cracking of the sediment surface (synaeresis). These cracks likely resulted from layer-parallel contraction caused by compaction of mudstone layers during burial. Seismic shock may have provided the trigger for the preferential development of polygonal crack patterns in these layers instead of the more usual small-scale dewatering structures. From a detailed comparison with published descriptions of filled cracks from a number of different geological environments, it is concluded that interstratal cracking is a mechanism which rivals sub-aerial desiccation in importance, and is more common in the geological record than is currently realized.

Item Type:Article
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s):Tanner, Dr P
Authors: Tanner, P.W.G
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Sedimentology
Publisher:Blackwell Publishing
ISSN:0037-0746
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 1998 Blackwell Publishing
First Published:First published in Sedimentology 45 (1) 71 - 89
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Publisher

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