Characteristic of till formation during the Baltija (Pomeranian) Stage of the Nemunas (Weichselian) Glaciation in Lithuania

Valentinas Baltrūnas, Bronislavas Karmaza, Kastytis Dundulis, Saulius Gadeikis, Vytautas Račkauskas, Petras Šinkūnas

Abstract


Studies of the till structure and composition of the Baltija (Pomeranian) Stage of the Nemunas (Weichselian) Glaciation in Lithuania has enabled recognition of a multilayered till structure. This can be seen visually (colour, bed structure, interlayers, insertions of different composition and so on) and established from features determined by analytical and statistical methods (physical and mechanical properties, material composition, orientation and dip of longer axes of pebbles). Borehole log data from boreholes drilled during geological mapping showed heterogeneity within the subglacial till of the Baltija Stage and provided a preliminary picture of variations of its multilayered structure from S to N. This showed that two layers predominate in the subglacial till in the area of the South Lithuanian Phase while three layers are present in the area of the Middle Lithuanian Phase farther north. The petrographic composition of the gravel fraction as well as the orientation and dip of the long axes of pebbles measured in till beds in natural exposures and quarries further demonstrated the multilayered structure of the Baltija till. Research at key sections in areas of the subsurface extent of till of the East, South and Middle Lithuanian phases of the Baltija glacial recession confirmed the increase in the number of till layers from S to N. The physical and mechanical properties of the till also reflect its multilayered structure. Relative entropy values calculated for the grain-size frequency distribution of the Baltija till enabled evaluation of a change in its sorting along the direction of glacial ice advance from N to S. There is a correlation between the higher values of entropy of grain-size distribution and the rate of development of preferred orientation of longer axes of pebbles throughout the till section vertically. The formation of the multilayered structure of the Baltija till is ascribed to cyclic dynamics of the subglacial processes associated with the receding ice sheet; consequently, the number of subglacial till layers may be related to the marginal moraine ridges of different phases left by oscillation of the ice sheet margin during glacial recession.

Keywords


Lithuania; Last Glaciation; Nemunas Glaciation; Baltija till; sedimentology; physical properties

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