Friction Cracks as Directional Indicators of Glacial Flow on Mt. Desert Island, Maine

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A detailed study of friction cracks from a Late Pleistocene glacial pavement on the southeastern corner of Mt. Desert Island, Maine, has shown that these small scale glacial erosion features may be used as reliable indicators of the direction of glacial flow. Directional information suggests that ice flows in response to microand macrotopography in a limited area. Direction of concavity for a given type of friction crack is constant, but concavity is a useful tool in determining the direction of ice flow only if one distinguishes between crescentic gouges (concave upsteam with respect to glacial flow) and both lunate fractures and crescentic fractures (concave downstream). In non-schistose rock types, the most consistent friction crack parameter is primary fracture dip, which is downstream in the direction of ice movement.


Author Institution: Department of Botany, The Ohio State University



The Ohio Journal of Science. v78, n1 (January-February, 1978), 11-17