International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 885–911 | Cite as

A ~565 Ma old glaciation in the Ediacaran of peri-Gondwanan West Africa

  • Ulf LinnemannEmail author
  • Agustín Pieren Pidal
  • Mandy Hofmann
  • Kerstin Drost
  • Cecilio Quesada
  • Axel Gerdes
  • Linda Marko
  • Andreas Gärtner
  • Johannes Zieger
  • Jens Ulrich
  • Rita Krause
  • Patricia Vickers-Rich
  • Jana Horak
Original Paper


In the Cadomian orogen of the NE Bohemian Massif and of SW Iberia, a post-Gaskiers glacial event dated at c. 565 Ma has been detected. Such Ediacaran-aged glaciomarine deposits occur in the Weesenstein and Clanzschwitz groups of the Saxo-Thuringian zone (Bohemia) and in the Lower Alcudian group of the southern Central Iberian zone (Iberia). Both areas are parts of Cadomia situated in the Western and Central European Variscides. Glaciomarine sedimentary rocks are characterized by such features as dropstones, flat iron-shaped pebbles (“Bügeleisen-Geschiebe”), facetted pebbles, dreikanters, and zircon grains affected by ice abrasion. For age and provenance determination, LA–ICP–MS U–Pb ages (n = 1124) and Hf isotope (n = 446) analyses were performed. The maximum age of the glaciomarine deposits within a Cadomian back-arc basin based on U–Pb analytics resulted in the youngest detrital zircon populations showing ages of 562–565 Ma and of c. 566–576 Ma old zircon derived from granitoid pebbles within the diamictites. The youngest age recorded was 538–540 Ma based on zircon from the plutons which had intruded the previously deformed Ediacaran metasedimentary rocks. Previously described glaciomarine diamictites of Cadomia (Weesenstein, Clanzschwitz, and Orellana diamictites) are most definitely younger than the c. 579–581 Ma Gaskiers glaciation in Newfoundland (Gaskiers) and in SE New England (Squantum). We propose the term WeesensteinOrellana glaciation for this new Ediacaran glacial event, named after the most relevant regions of exposure. Palaeogeographically, these glaciomarine diamictites and related sedimentary deposits lie on the periphery of the West African Craton (western peri-Gondwana), and evidence has been provided by detrital zircon U–Pb ages and their Hf isotope composition. Correlation with similar glaciomarine deposits in the Anti-Atlas (Bou Azzer) and Saudi Arabia suggests a continued distribution of post-Gaskiers glacial deposits along the Gondwana margin of Northern Africa. The WeesensteinOrellana glaciation correlates in part with the Shuram–Wonoka δ13C anomaly.


Glaciation Ediacaran Weesenstein–Orellana glaciation Neoproterozoic palaeoclimate peri-Gondwana West African craton Cadomian orogeny U–Pb zircon ages Hf isotopes 



This is a contribution to IGCP project 648 “Supercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics”. Gregory J. Retallack (Eugene) and an unknown reviewer are thanked for their helpful reviews. We thank the Australian IGCP Committee for their funding support for the work in Saudi Arabia as well as the UNESCO IGCP Board for project IGCP587. Special thanks go to Fayek Kattan and his team from the Saudi Geological Survey for facilitating our work in Saudi Arabia.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 4355 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOC 1504 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulf Linnemann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Agustín Pieren Pidal
    • 2
  • Mandy Hofmann
    • 1
  • Kerstin Drost
    • 3
  • Cecilio Quesada
    • 4
  • Axel Gerdes
    • 5
  • Linda Marko
    • 5
  • Andreas Gärtner
    • 1
  • Johannes Zieger
    • 1
  • Jens Ulrich
    • 6
  • Rita Krause
    • 1
  • Patricia Vickers-Rich
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
  • Jana Horak
    • 11
  1. 1.Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Museum für Mineralogie und Geologie, GeoPlasmaLabDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Departmento de EstratigrafíaUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Geology, School of Natural SciencesTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  4. 4.Instituto Geológico y Minero de EspañaMadridSpain
  5. 5.Institut für Geowissenschaften, MineralogieGoethe-Universität FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany
  6. 6.G.U.B. Ingenieur AG, Niederlassung FreibergFreibergGermany
  7. 7.Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of ScienceSwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourne (Hawthorn)Australia
  8. 8.School of Earth, Atmosphere and EnvironmentMonash UniversityMelbourne (Clayton)Australia
  9. 9.School of Environmental SciencesDeakin UniversityMelbourne (Burwood)Australia
  10. 10.Palaeontology DepartmentMuseum VictoriaMelbourneAustralia
  11. 11.National Museum Cardiff, Mineralogy and PetrologyCardiffUK

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