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Keywords:

  • Flutes;
  • micromorphology;
  • scanning electron microscopy;
  • till sedimentology

Abstract

The subglacial processes at Briksdalsbreen, Norway, are examined by a combination of sedimentology, thin section and scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis of till samples from an exposed subglacial surface and from beneath the glacier. Studies of a fluted surface indicate that subglacial deformation is occurring on a field scale with flutes forming behind most clasts 0·6 m high. At the thin section scale (0·014–2·0 mm) it is seen that deformation is by rotation and attenuation and is dependent on till texture. At the SEM scale (0·1–0·4 mm) it is seen that erosion is controlled by abrasion and percussion which produces distinct grain ‘styles’ as part of an erosional continuum. Overall it is shown that rotation and attenuation is a dominant process at all scales and that the clast interactions associated with different scale perturbations within the shear zone control erosion and deposition, as well as landform and fabric production.