Ediacaran glaciations of the west African Craton – Evidence from Morocco

Letsch, Dominik; Large, Simon J. E.; Buechi, M. W.; Winkler, Wilfried; von Quadt, Albrecht (2018). Ediacaran glaciations of the west African Craton – Evidence from Morocco. Precambrian research, 310, pp. 17-38. Elsevier 10.1016/j.precamres.2018.02.015

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The northern margin of the West African Craton preserved in the Anti-Atlas area of southern Morocco, represents an outstanding geological archive covering parts of the Neoproterozoic and the Paleozoic. Despite isolated mentions in the literature, relics of Neoproterozoic glaciations have hitherto not received much attention in this area and tight geochronological constraints had been lacking. This paper documents the sedimentology and stratigraphic context of several occurrences from the eastern and central Anti-Atlas. Based on outcrop-scale sedimentological and microsedimentological investigations, different types of diamictites are distinguished and their origin with reference to modern glacial systems is discussed. The sedimentary record is explained by one single glacial period (albeit interrupted by interglacial phases) affecting both mountainous terrestrial and marine realms. Sedimentary facies and preserved paleotopographies are best accounted for by invoking a fjord-like depositional system with steep-sided valleys being repeatedly drowned by marine water or occupied by valley glaciers. High-precision geochronological constraints suggest that this glacial period must have taken place sometimes between 592 Ma and 579 Ma. Hence it is suggested that this is the first temporally constrained report of the Ediacaran Gaskiers glaciation on the West African Craton (WAC). Existing Ediacaran paleomagnetic data from the WAC are sparse and allow different interpretations regarding paleolatitude of this glaciation. The latter is finally discussed vis-à-vis potential rapid true polar wander events and the possibility that the Gaskiers glaciation was more global in extent than hitherto assumed and might even have brought Earth close to a true pan-glacial state.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Büchi, Marius


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Marius Büchi

Date Deposited:

13 Jun 2019 11:17

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:27

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Tillites, Gaskiers glaciation, Anti-Atlas, True polar wander, Snowball Earth, Microsedimentology





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