Rock weathering in blockfields: Some preliminary data from mountain plateaus in North Norway

W. Brian Whalley*, Brice R. Rea, Michelle M. Rainey, John J. McAlister

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The formation of blockfields is a process usually attributed to weathering. In mountain areas this is generally assumed to be mechanical weathering (frost shattering). Evidence from two high plateaus [900 and 1350 m above sea level (a.s.l.)] in North Norway (c. 70° N) suggests that chemical action is at least as important as mechanical activity in blockfield formation. The bedrock in both areas consists of complex banded gabbros. Blockfields circumscribe ice masses and are generally > 1 m thick. They contain high percentages of material in the silt and clay sized fractions, including a variety of clay minerals: gibbsite, chlorite, of these weathering products suggests both a considerable (pre-Pleistocene) length of time required for development as well as warmer conditions than are found now (mean annual air temperature c. 0°C) or in the period since deglaciation. It is suggested that these blockfields represent a preglacial palaeosurface which formed initially under warmer conditions and has survived, largely intact, beneath all the Pleistocene ice sheets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalGeological Society Special Publications
Volume120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1997

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