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Carboniferous glaciotectonized sediments in the southernmost Paraná Basin, Brazil: Ice marginal dynamics and paleoclimate indicators

Fedorchuk, N.D., Isbell, J.L., Griffis, N.P., Vesely, F.F., Rosa, E.L.M., Montãnez, I.P., Mundil, R., Yin, Q.-Z., Iannuzzi, R., Roesler, G., Pauls, K.N.
Sedimentary geology 2019 v.389 pp. 54-72
Carboniferous period, basins, clay, deformation, freshwater, glaciation, glaciers, ice, mudstone, paleoclimatology, pellets, potassium, railroads, rubidium, sandstone, silt, weathering, Brazil, Uruguay
Carboniferous glaciogenic strata (Itararé Gp.) in the southernmost Paraná Basin, Brazil exhibit soft-sediment deformation features previously interpreted as glaciotectonism. These sediments were studied in detail to confirm that they were deformed by ice and to assess the nature of the glaciation, depositional environments, and paleoclimate in this region during the Carboniferous. Five outcrops were described along a railroad transect that contains a conglomerate and diamictite facies with striated and faceted clasts, a medium sandstone facies, a fine grained silt/clay rhythmite and mudstone facies with dropstones and diamictite pellets, a sandy clinoform facies, and a folded sandstone with interbedded mudstone facies. The depositional environment for these sediments is interpreted as an outwash fan and fan delta from an ice-proximal, transitional terrestrial-to-estuarine setting. Rb/K values from the rhythmites reflect a transition from a freshwater to brackish environment and the Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA) of the rhythmites ranges from 65 to 73, reflecting a relative increase in the degree of chemical weathering through time. Deformation features include widespread folding, thrust faults, hydrofractures, décollement surfaces, and piggyback fold-thrust complexes. The deformation is interpreted as evidence of a push-moraine complex formed by at least two complete ice advance/retreat cycles. The occurrence of décollement surfaces, plastically deformed proglacial sediments, and hydrofractures indicate a dynamic, warm-based or polythermal glacier. Abundant outwash sediments, rhythmites with dropstones, and the shift to average CIA values all support a temperate paleoclimate. Deformation structures indicate a NW direction of ice shove that is in agreement with the regional-scale hypothesis that a NNW flowing lobe extended out of Uruguay during the Carboniferous and terminated in the southernmost Paraná Basin. This study demonstrates that late Paleozoic glaciation in this region was more dynamic than previously understood, with high frequency fluctuations in ice marginal positions.