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

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bethan DaviesORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright © 2022 Le Heron, Busfield, Chen, Corkeron, Davies, Dietrich, Ghienne, Kettler, Scharfenberg, Vandyk and Wohlschlägl.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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Le Heron DP, Busfield ME, Chen X, Corkeron M, Davies BJ, Dietrich P, Ghienne J-F, Kettler C, Scharfenberg L, Vandyk TM, Wohlschlagl R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Earth Science

Year: 2022

Volume: 10

Online publication date: 18/05/2022

Acceptance date: 25/04/2022

Date deposited: 16/08/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2296-6463

Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.


DOI: 10.3389/feart.2022.870359


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