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  • Author: A.J. (Tom) Van Loon x
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A 1-million m3 breccia near Laiyuan (Hebei Province, E China) occurs as a block-like lithological unit between dolo-stones of the 1.55-1.45 Ga (Early Mesoproterozoic) Wumishan Formation. It has previously been interpreted as a seismite, but it appears not to fulfil any of the commonly accepted criteria that jointly are considered diagnostic for seis-mites. Its presence in a graben-like structure with almost vertical bounding fault planes rather indicates an origin as a (submarine) valley fill. As the valley originated by tectonic activity in the form of faulting, the breccia can be considered as a secondary effect of seismic activity, but it does not represent a seismite.


The Archaean granitoid pluton of the Singhbhum craton in E India is overlain by Archaean to Palaeoproterozoic metasediments. These sediments are still poorly known and their stratigraphy is under debate. Several scattered, most probably Meso- to Neoarchaean, conglomerates are present in the state of Jharkhand that differ so much in characteristics that they are probably not related to each other. The sedimentology of a series of conglomerate patches and layers near Bhurkuli has been investigated, including the characteristics of the clasts. It is deduced on the basis of these characteristics and the sedimentological context that the Bhurkuli conglomerates represent the channel facies of a river system that differed from the types of fluvial systems that exist nowadays.


An oolite in the Furongian (Late Cambrian) Chaomidian Formation in Shandong Province, China, which was deposited on the North China Platform in an epeiric sea, contains several limestone breccia lenses of various dimensions (centimetres to decimetres thick and decimetres to more than 10 metres in length) in an E-trending section. The oolite, which is approximately 40 cm thick, was originally thicker, as indicated by a planar truncation surface that formed by wave abrasion. The breccia lenses in this oolite are generally mound-shaped with a flat base and a convex top. The western margin of the lenses is commonly rounded whereas the eastern margin commonly has a tail (consisting of a rapidly eastwards thinning breccia horizon that gradually ends in a horizon of isolated clasts). Some of the breccia lenses are underlain by a shear zone.

The formation of the breccia lenses cannot be easily explained by normal depositional or deformational processes. It is concluded that the lenses represent fragments of a partly consolidated layer, consisting of both rounded and angular platy clasts, which slid down over a very gently inclined sedimentary surface which acted – possibly together with a water film – as a lubricant layer. During transport, the layer broke up into several discrete bodies that formed small ‘highs’ at the sedimentary surface of the shallow epeiric sea. Subsequently, waves partially eroded the lenses, mostly at their margins, producing their mound-shaped form.

Sliding of blocks is known from a wide variety of environments in the sedimentary record; however, this is the first description of the sliding of blocks in an epeiric sea. This indicates that such a low-relief submarine carbonate setting is, like its siliciclastic counterparts, susceptible to this process.


Numerous soft-sediment deformation structures occur within the Proterozoic Bhander Limestone of an intracratonic sag basin in a 750 m long section along the Thomas River, near Maihar, central India. Part of these deformation structures have most probably a non-seismic origin, but other structures are interpreted as resulting from earthquake-induced shocks. These seismic structures are concentrated in a 60 cm thick interval, which is interpreted as three stacked seismi-tes. These three seismites are traceable over the entire length of the section. They divide the sedimentary succession in a lower part (including the seismites) deposited in a hypersaline lagoon, and an upper open-marine (shelf) part. Most of the soft-sediment deformations outside the seismite interval occur in a lagoonal intraclastic and muddy facies association.

The SSDS within the seismite interval show a lateral continuity. They record simultaneous fluidisation and liquefaction. The bases of each of the three composing seismite bands are defined by small-scale shear folds, probably recording an earthquake and aftershocks.

The presence of the three seismite bands at the boundary between the lagoonal and the overlying open-marine oolitic facies association suggests that the seismic event also triggered basin subsidence.


During the Pomeranian phase of the Weichselian glaciation (~17-16 ka), the Toruń-Eberswalde ice-marginal valley (NW Poland and easternmost Germany) drained water from the Pomeranian ice sheet, while intensive aeolian processes took place across Europe in the foreland of the Scandinavian ice sheet (‘European Sand Belt’). The micromorphology of the quartz grains in the Toruń-Eberswalde ice-marginal valley shows no traces of these aeolian processes, or only vague signs of aeolian abrasion. This is unique among the aeolian sediments in other Pleistocene ice-marginal valleys in this part of Europe. The study of the surfaces of the quartz grains shows that the supply of grains by streams from the south was minimal, which must be ascribed to the climate deterioration during the Last Glacial Maximum, which resulted in a decrease of the discharge of these extraglacial rivers to the ice-marginal valley.