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Formation of subglacial till under transient bed conditions: deposition, deformation, and basal decoupling under a Weichselian ice sheet lobe, central Poland



A multi-proxy approach involving a study of sediment architecture, grain size, grain roundness and crushing index, petrographic and clay mineral composition, till fabric and till micromorphology was applied to infer processes of till formation and deformation under a Weichselian ice sheet at Kurzetnik, Poland. The succession consists of three superposed till units overlying outwash sediments deformed at the top. The textural characteristics of tills vary little throughout the till thickness, whereas structural appearance is diversified including massive and bedded regions. Indicators of intergranular bed deformation include overturned, attenuated folds, boudinage structures, a sediment-mixing zone, grain crushing, microstructural lineations, grain stacking and high fabric strength. Lodgement proxies are grooved intra-till surfaces, ploughing marks and consistently striated clast surfaces. Basal decoupling by pressurized meltwater is indicated by undisturbed sand stringers, sand-filled meltwater scours under pebbles and partly armoured till pellets. It is suggested that the till experienced multiple transitions between lodgement, deformation and basal decoupling. Cumulative strain was high, but the depth of (time-transgressive) deformation much lower (centimetre range) than the entire till thickness (ca 2 m) at any point in time, consistent with the deforming bed mosaic model. Throughout most of ice overriding, porewater pressure was high, in the vicinity of glacier floatation pressure indicating that the substratum, consisting of 11 m thick sand, was unable to drain subglacial meltwater sufficiently.

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