A Late Devonian polymictic diamictite extends for more than 400 km from northeastern Pennsylvania across western Maryland and into east-central West Virginia. The matrix-supported, unbedded, locally sheared diamictite contains subangular to rounded clasts up to 2 m in diameter. The mostly rounded clasts are both locally derived and exotic; some exhibit striations, faceting, and polish. The diamictite commonly is overlain by laminated siltstone/mudstone facies associations (laminites). The laminites contain isolated clasts ranging in size from sand and pebbles to boulders, some of which are striated. The diamictite/laminite sequence is capped by massive, coarse-grained, pebbly sandstone that is trough cross-bedded. A stratigraphic change from red, calcic paleo-Vertisols in strata below the diamictite to non-calcic paleo-Spodosols and coal beds at and above the diamictite interval suggests that the climate became much wetter during deposition of the diamictite. The diamictite deposit is contemporaneous with regressive facies that reflect fluvial incision during the Late Devonian of the Appalachian basin. These deposits record a Late Devonian episode of climatic cooling so extreme that it produced glaciation in the Appalachian basin. Evidence for this episode of climatic cooling is preserved as the interpreted glacial deposits of diamictite, overlain by glaciolacustrine varves containing dropstones, and capped by sandstone interpreted as braided stream outwash.
The Appalachian glacigenic deposits are contemporaneous with glacial deposits in South America, and suggest that Late Devonian climatic cooling was global. This period of dramatic global cooling may represent the end of the mid-Paleozoic warm interval that began in the Middle Silurian.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Late Devonian glacial deposits from the eastern United States signal an end of the mid-Paleozoic warm period|
|Series title||Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology|
|State||Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|