The origin and glaciodynamic significance of sandstone ridge networks from the Hirnantian glaciation of the Djado Basin (Niger)



The Djado Basin (Niger) was located beneath the inner part of the Late Ordovician ice sheet. The Felar-Felar Formation consists mainly of glaciomarine deposits, associated with the major ice sheet recession within the glaciation, and is bounded by two glacial unconformities. Structures corresponding to sandstone ridges are found within the Felar-Felar Formation. Sandstone ridges are several metres high, about 10 m wide and hundreds of metres long. These structures are organized in extensive anastomosed to sub-polygonal networks. The association of sandstone ridge networks with the later glacial unconformity and with other glacial evidence suggests sub-glacial conditions for their origin. Sandstone ridge sedimentological characteristics indicate that sandstone ridges result from the scouring of the Felar-Felar Formation by sub-glacial, turbulent and pressurized meltwater; then sub-glacial cavities were infilled with sand derived from glacial abrasion. Sandstone ridge networks are comparable with tunnel channels and document unusual drainage structures of the inner part of the palaeo-ice sheet.