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Meta-analysis of Cryogenian through modern quartz microtextures reveals sediment transport histories

Reahl, Jocelyn N. and Cantine, Marjorie D. and Wilcots, Julia and Mackey, Tyler J. and Bergmann, Kristin D. (2021) Meta-analysis of Cryogenian through modern quartz microtextures reveals sediment transport histories. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 91 (9). pp. 929-944. ISSN 1527-1404. doi:10.2110/jsr.2020.151.

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Quantitative analysis of quartz microtextures by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) can reveal the transport histories of modern and ancient sediments. However, because workers identify and count microtextures differently, it is difficult to directly compare quantitative microtextural data analyzed by different workers. As a result, the defining microtextures of certain transport modes and their probabilities of occurrence are not well constrained. We used principal-component analysis (PCA) to directly compare modern and ancient aeolian, fluvial, and glacial samples from the literature with nine new samples from active aeolian and glacial environments. Our results demonstrate that PCA can group microtextural samples by transport mode and differentiate between aeolian transport and fluvial and glacial transport across studies. The PCA ordination indicates that aeolian samples are distinct from fluvial and glacial samples, which are in turn difficult to disambiguate from each other. Ancient and modern sediments are also shown to have quantitatively similar microtextural relationships. Therefore, PCA may be a useful tool to constrain the ambiguous transport histories of some ancient sediment grains. As a case study, we analyzed two samples with ambiguous transport histories from the Cryogenian Bråvika Member (Svalbard). Integrating PCA with field observations, we find evidence that the Bråvika Member facies investigated here includes aeolian deposition and may be analogous to syn-glacial Marinoan aeolian units including the Bakoye Formation in Mali and the Whyalla Sandstone in South Australia.

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Reahl, Jocelyn N.0000-0001-5544-2138
Additional Information:© 2021 SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology. Received 24 September 2020; accepted 2 June 2021. We thank the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community Cultural Resource Department, Justin Brundin (Cultural Resources Manager, Cocopah Indian Tribe), Andrea A. Hunter (Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Osage Nation), Gary McAdams (Cultural Planner, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes), and Benjamin Louter (Heritage Coordinator, Taku River Tlingit First Nation) for assistance with acknowledging Indigenous territory. Adam B. Jost (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT) performed field work in Svalbard with M.D.C., J.W., T.J.M., and K.D.B., collected photographs, and trained and assisted J.N.R. in the laboratory. We thank Steven M. Adams and Gerilyn S. Soreghan (University of Oklahoma) for collecting and providing samples from the Algodones Dunes and the Waynoka Dunes. The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP), Foundation for Glacier and Environmental Research (FGER), and Coastal Helicopters in Juneau, Alaska provided logistical support, food, and lodging on the Juneau Icefield. This work began as J.N.R.'s undergraduate thesis project at Wellesley College. We thank Daniel J. Brabander, Katrin Monecke, and Wesley A. Watters at Wellesley College for being on the thesis committee. We thank Timothy J. Cavanaugh at the Harvard University Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS) for assistance operating the SEM. The Harvard CNS is a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure Network (NNCI), which is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under NSF award no. 1541959. K.D.B. acknowledges support from the Victor P. Starr Development Chair and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. M.D.C. received support from a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. J.W. received support from the Dean of the School of Science Fellowship at MIT. T.J.M. received support from the Agouron Geobiology Institute. Field work in Svalbard was supported by the MIT Wade Fund awarded to K.D.B. Samples from Antarctic lakes were collected during field work in the McMurdo Dry Valleys supported by NASA Astrobiology's Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Program (award no. NNX08AO19G); the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology (award no. C01X0306); and the NSF Division of Polar Programs' McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research Project (award no. 1115245). Field work on the Juneau Icefield was partially funded by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Scholarship for Field Study awarded to J.N.R. Thoughtful feedback from Pedro J.M. Costa and an anonymous reviewer improved the manuscript. Author Contributions: J.N.R. wrote the manuscript, collected samples from the Juneau Icefield, performed SEM analysis on all samples, and performed the PCA analysis. M.D.C. and K.D.B. were the primary advisors to J.N.R. J.W. shared her stratigraphic columns and samples of the Bråvika Member, as well as insight on statistics and machine learning. J.W., M.D.C., T.J.M., and K.D.B. characterized and collected samples of the Bråvika Member in Svalbard during their 2017 field season. T.J.M. contributed samples from the McMurdo Dry Valleys. All authors reviewed the final manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Victor P. Starr Development ChairUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)UNSPECIFIED
Agouron InstituteUNSPECIFIED
New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science, and TechnologyC01X0306
National Association of Geoscience TeachersUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201026-095225793
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Official Citation:Jocelyn N. Reahl, Marjorie D. Cantine, Julia Wilcots, Tyler J. Mackey, Kristin D. Bergmann; Meta-analysis of Cryogenian through modern quartz microtextures reveals sediment transport histories. Journal of Sedimentary Research 2021; 91 (9): 929–944. doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106275
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Oct 2020 17:46
Last Modified:13 Oct 2021 19:55

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