Alluvial fan dynamics in the El’gygytgyn Crater: implications for the 3.6 Ma old sediment archive

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Schwamborn, G. , Fedorov, G. , Ostanin, N. , Schirrmeister, L. and Andreev, A. (2012): Alluvial fan dynamics in the El’gygytgyn Crater: implications for the 3.6 Ma old sediment archive , Climate of the Past, 8 , pp. 2187-2222 . doi: 10.5194/cpd-8-2187-2012
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A sedimentological program has been conducted using frozen core samples from the 141.5m long El’gygytgyn 5011-3 permafrost well. The drill site is located in sedi- mentary permafrost west of the lake that partly fills the El’gygytgyn Crater. The total core sequence is interpreted as strata building up a progradational alluvial fan delta. Four structurally and texturally distinct sedimentary units are identified. Unit 1 (141.5– 117.0m) is comprised of ice-cemented, matrix-supported sandy gravel and interca- lated sandy layers. Sandy layers represent sediments which rained out as particles in the deeper part of the water column under highly energetic conditions. Unit 2 (117.0–24.25 m) is dominated by ice-cemented, matrix-supported sandy gravel with individual gravel layers. Most of the unit 2 diamicton is understood to result from alluvial wash and subsequent gravitational sliding of coarse-grained material on the basin slope. Unit 3 (24.25–8.5m) has ice-cemented, matrix-supported sandy gravel that is inter- rupted by sand beds. These sandy beds are associated with flooding events and represent near-shore sandy shoals. Unit 4 (8.5–0.0 m) is ice-cemented, matrix-supported sandy gravel with varying ice content, mostly higher than below. It consists of slope material and creek fill deposits. The uppermost meter is the active layer into which modern soil organic matter has been incorporated. The nature of the progradational sediment transport taking place from the western and northern crater margins may be related to the complementary occurrence of frequent turbiditic layers in the central lake basin as is known from the lake sediment record. Slope processes such as gravitational sliding and sheet flooding that takes place especially during spring melt are thought to promote mass wasting into the basin. Tectonics are inferred to have initiated the fan accumulation in the first place and possibly the off-centre displacement of the crater lake.

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