Interpreting the ice dynamics and palaeogeography of the Ediacaran to Cambrian Luoquan Formation of North China

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Profile Display Name:

Thomas Matthew Vandyk

E-mail Address:

thomas.vandyk.17@ucl.ac.uk

Start Year

2017 (Cohort 4)

Research interests:
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PhD Project
PhD Title

Interpreting the ice dynamics and palaeogeography of the Ediacaran to Cambrian Luoquan Formation of North China

Research Theme

Past Life and Environments

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution

RHUL

Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution

UCL

Abstract

The Ediacaran to Cambrian aged Luoquan Formation (> 521 Ma, North China) comprises exquisitely preserved subglacially striated pavements, overlain by a range of subglacial to proglacial deposits. This project seeks to better understand its depositional context and processes, along with the character, extent and dynamics of its glacial ice. This will be achieved through outcrop investigation using well-established geological techniques, such as measured sections, mapping and sedimentary structure orientation. This study will improve understandings of how our past planet worked: (1) Striated pavements are globally rare upon such ancient rocks and those of the Luoquan Formation are amongst the best Precambrian examples. They yield important information about the overlying ancient ice, yet scant data is published on the Luoquan pavements and they are imminently threatened by anthropogenic destruction; (2) Whether any glacial strata of Cambrian age occur globally remains unconfirmed; (3) The North China Craton was at mid to low latitudes during Luoquan Formation deposition. The presence of sea-level ice at these latitudes during the preceding Cryogenian Period is considered diagnostic evidence of pan-global “Snowball Earth” glaciation. A sea-level depositional context for ice rafted debris of the Luoquan Formation would therefore significantly change understandings of Ediacaran to Cambrian global climate.

Policy Impact

This study will contribute to the debate on causes and consequences of global climate change throughout Earth history as well as the relationship between climate, the carbon cycle and the Cambrian Explosion.

Background Reading
Grants and awards
  • Postgraduate Research Grant – British Society for Geomorphology
  • Postgraduate Grant – International Association of Sedimentologists
  • Ian Gass Bursary – Open University
  • Robert Scott Memorial Award – CASP, administered by Geological Society of London
  • Crowther Fund – Open University
  • Kirsty Brown Memorial Fund – administered by Royal Holloway
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