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Earth-Science Reviews - Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam - Printed in The Netherlands



University of lllinois, Urbana, Ill. (U.S.A.)


Late Paleozoic glaciation has been reported from India and Pakistan,
Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, Madagascar, Falkland Islands,
Mexico, and Massachusetts, United States. Glacial origin of sediments in Mexico
and Massachusetts is doubtful. Areas glaciated have present latitudes from 34 N
(Pakistan) to 85 S (Antarctica).
Evidences of glaciation reported include tillites, striated pavements, faceted
cobbles, varves, erratic blocks in marine and lacustrine sediments, coarse conglom-
erates, presumably glacio-fluvial, and deformational structures assigned to
overriding glacial ice. Some "glacial" deposits described years ago need restudy
to be sure that mud flow, landslid_, volcanic breccia, turbidite, and other non-
glacial deposits may not have been misidentified as glacial.
Age assignments in terms of North American and European columns are
difficult because of the scarcity of common floras and faunas between the glaciated
Gondwana areas and northern lands. They commonly range from Middle Carbonif-
erous to Middle or Late Permian. It is unlikely that glacial maxima in all areas
were contemporaneous.
Most earlier descriptions refer to a small number of glacial stages (1-5), but
more detailed recent studies in Australia suggest as many as 51 glacial episodes.
It has been suggested that sea-level fluctuations resulting from growth and waning
of Late Paleozoic glaciers may have been a cause of Late Paleozoic cyclic sedi-
mentation in the northern hemisphere.
Directions of ice movement derived from striae and boulder trains show
great diversity, some suggesting local centers of dispersal on existing lands and
others glacial advance from present marine areas. The wide latitudinal range of
glaciation, and recent paleomagnetic data from Late Paleozoic rocks have suggest-
ed that the glaciated areas were commonly at higher latitudes than at present,
and that continents now widely separated were closer together. QuartzJtes from
South Africa have been reported in the tillites of Brazil. Nearly every polar shift
and continental drift proposal to explain glacial distribution has been unlike all
others. In the present paper facts pertaining to glaciation are presented as objectively
as possible, without adopting any particular causal hypothesis.

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286



A record of ancient glaciation in any part of the world points to abnormal con-
ditions of climate and/or topographic relief. TWENHOFEL(1950, pp.67-68) stated,
"proof that deposits were made in the glacial environment requires the whole
association of deposits from those on the stoss side of the moraine to the varved
clays of the outwash lakes, be present, and the case is strengthened if the surfaces
on which the deposits rest carry marks of glacial movement. Lack of stratification
and poor sorting prove little, and even the presence of striated rock particles is
not conclusive".
Reports of more or less widespread glaciation during the Carboniferous,
Permian, or both, have been made from India (BLANFORDet al., 1856); Africa
(SUTHERLAND, 1870); South America (DERBY 1888); Australia (SELwYN, 1859);
Madagascar (HmTz, 1950); Antarctica (LONG, 1962); Massachusetts (MANSHELO,
1906); and Mexico (KELLY, 1936; HUMPHREY, 1955). A summary of existing know-
ledge of world distribution of Late Paleozoic glaciation was presented by COLEMAN
Since 1940 the tendency has been to reappraise supposed glacial sediments
of pre-Pleistocene age as the products of turbidity currents, mud flows, landslides,
explosive vulcanism, and alluvial fan deposition (CROWELL, 1957; VAN HOUTEN,
1957; FUNT et al., 1960; DOTT, 1962). Some, but not all areas of reported Late
Paleozoic glaciation have been reexamined to determine the validity of assigning
their sediments to a glacial origin.
During the past decade new methods have been developed for evaluation
of ancient climates, especially the use of oxygen isotopes for paleotemperature
determination. Accumulation of paleomagnetic measurements suggests that the
magnetic poles may have fluctuated widely in pre-Tertiary times, and presumably
the axis of the earth's rotation may have experienced similar migrations. Thus,
although ancient glaciation had been interpreted as a result of world wide cooling
under the theory of a fixed polar axis, the Late Paleozoic glaciated areas, though
widely distributed in latitude may have been subpolar, if this is supported by
paleomagnetic data.
The similarity in Late Paleozoic and Early Mesozoic sequences in southern
Africa, India, South America, and Australia led to the suggestion that these
areas were formerly joined into a single continent, Gondwanaland, separated from
the northern continents by a Mediterranean sea, Tethys (SuEss, 1885).
lnterest in Late Paleozoic glaciation has become associated with studies of
paleomagnetism, paleotemperatures, continental drift and turbidity currents, as
well as paleogeography and paleoecology.
The senior author's first hand experience with Late Paleozoic glacial sediments
includes nine months of Australian field studies supported by Senior Fulbright
fellowship at the University of Sydney (WANLESS, 1960); brief observations of the

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247 286


Dwyka tillites at Laingsberg, Grahamstown, and Durban, South Africa; and a

brief visit to Squantum Neck, Massachusetts. The search of geological literature
for descriptions of Late Paleozoic glacial phenomena and the preparation of the
table of pertinent data were done by the junior author. Dr. Antonio Rocha
Campos of the University of S~o Paulo, Brazil has been very helpful in providing
and evaluating South American information.
Current problems in the understanding of the Late Paleozoic glacial record
(1) Proof or disproof of the glacial origin of sedimentary successions in the
various localities in which evidence of glaciation has been published.
(2) Determination of the age of the glaciation.
(3) Determination of the number of glacial episodes and interglacial stages.
(4) Determination of the directions of movement of glacial ice, in order to
locate centers of dispersal.
(5) Developing and testing theories for causes of the glaciation and their
relation to polar migration and continental drift.
This paper is a current evaluation of progress along these lines. Final
answers must await development of other tools of inquiry and much detailed field
and subsurface study in the various areas of reported Late Paleozoic glaciation.


Tillites may be described as unsorted, unstratified, bouldery sediments in which

the larger fragments may show faceted surfaces and striae. Similar deposits may
form due to mud flow, landslides, and volcanic explosions; whereas faceted and
striated pebbles have also been found in mud flow deposits, in turbidity current
deposits, and in ice-rafted gravels. Like accumulations have been reported in deep
water sediments formed by subaqueous slides, slumps, and turbidity currents
(CROWELL, 1957), although HEEZEN and HOLLISTER(1964) have pointed out many
differences between tillites and turbidites.
Associated with tillites, coarse- to fine-bedded conglomerates and sand
deposits may be expected as glacial outwash. Similar deposits may form as
fanglomerates in piedmont environments, or as alluvial deposits of fast-flowing
or flooded streams.
Meltwater varved deposits of fine texture may be formed in glacial lakes
and in marine sediments where glaciers reach sea level. Similar finely laminated,
fine-textured deposits in geosynclinal successions have been termed laminites
(LOMBARD, 1963) and are believed to form seaward from turbidites and as bottom-
set beds of large deltas. Turbidity currents have been invoked as a cause for
deposition of glacial varves (KuENEN, 1951). Some volcanic ash beds deposited
in lakes may resemble varves in structure.

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286



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Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286

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Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286

256 H. R . W A N L E S S AND J. R . C A N N O N


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Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286

Fig.l. Map of areas reporting Late Paleozic glaciation and directions of glacial striae and boulder trains. 1 = directic

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ions of glacial movement; 2 = areas of reported Late Paleozoic glaciation.


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Many deposits called glacio-marine contain erratic fragments, frequently of

large size, embedded in fine-textured marine sediments. Such are abundant through
thick series of Permian sediments in New South Wales. Although those are
commonly interpreted as the result of melting icebergs dropping erratics over
sea or lake bottoms, it is known that floating rafts of vegetation may produce
similar deposits.
A striated pavement beneath a sediment resembling tillite is generally
considered the strongest proof of glacial conditions. However, in a locality in
western Argentina where well developed striae are on several parallel beds (KEIDEL
and HARRINGTON, 1938) these striated surfaces may be slickensides resulting
from imbricate horizontal thrust sheets (DUNBAR, 1940). In areas where sediments
strongly resembling tillite lack association with striated pavements, it has been
proposed that these are the deposits of ice shelves like Ross ice shelf adjoining
Antartica, floating on the sea water and dropping their debris as the basal part
of the ice in contact with sea water melts (DuTOIT, 1921, p.12; CAREY, 1961).
The following is a concise statement of the present state of knowledge on
Late Paleozoic glacial deposits in the various areas in which they have been
reported. Table I summarizes the various kinds of evidence for described localities
on the continents and islands where glacial records have been proposed. Fig.1
shows the distribution of reported Late Paleozoic glaciation.


Glacial sediments in India are referred to the lower part of the Talchir Series, the
basal unit of the Gondwana Group. Resting directly on metamorphosed Pre-
cambrian rocks, the Talchir Series is found in eight separate and, generally, long
narrow basins segmented by post-Gondwana erosion. The restriction of present
Talchir rocks to these elongate basins is believed to result from post-Gondwana
faulting, the glacial sediments having been eroded from intervening, more elevated
The sediments referred to glacial origin are generally 50 to a maximum of 200
ft. thick and are principally boulder conglomerates, crudely sorted, and somewhat
stratified, associated with some varve-like siltstones. The sediments are interpreted
largely as glacial outwash, as some cobbles show faint striations. The fine siltstones
contain numerous erratic cobbles, some 3-8 ft. in dimension, and are interpreted
as lacustrine deposits with iceberg-rafted erratics (NIYoGI, 1961). A glacially
striated pavement is known at Irai, central India (SMITH, 1963), and in the Salt
Range, Rajputana, Pakistan.
True tillites have not been reported from India (RAO and NIVOGI, 1959).
Their absence has been surprising as noted by Fox (1931, p.23), and might arouse
uncertainty as to the nature of the Talchir sediments. However, the glacial origin
does not seem to have been challenged. The best evidence of glacial origin appears

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286


to be the glacial pavements, the erratic boulders in siltstones and shales, and the
occasional striated cobbles.


Evidences of Late Paleozoic glaciation in Africa were first reported by SUTHER-

LAND (1870). Strata, including the glacial deposits, are referred to the Dwyka
Series, the lowermost subdivision of the Karroo Group. The Dwyka Series is
found in practically all African countries south of the Equator. Its glacial deposits
are not more than 200-300 ft. thick, generally, in the northern area, but thicken
to more than 2,500 ft. at Laingsburg, Cape Province, South Africa. In most areas
the deposits are tillites, rather than conglomerates as in India. To the north the
deposits are quite discontinuous, probably occupying lowlands or basins in a
Carboniferous topography of a few hundred feet relief; whereas, from the northern
part of South Africa and southern Southwest Africa southward the tillites are
practically continuous.
Glacially striated and polished pavements are known at many places,
although such have not been observed in southernmost Africa, where the thickest
deposits are found. It is supposed that this latter area formed an ice shelf like the
Ross Ice Shelf adjoining Antarctica (DuTO1T, 1953, p.274). In this portion of
Africa glacial evidence rests principally on the large erratic boulders of rock types
which have been transported at least 100 miles from the nearest possible source
and which include faceted and striated fragments.
The distribution pattern in southern Africa is peculiar. The outcrop area
surrounding the great Karroo Basin of South Africa shows tillites, and tillites
have been reported in numerous bore holes within the basin. Thus, they are assum-
ed to be present throughout the Karroo Basin. In the Transvaal sediments of
glacial origin seem limited to lowlands of a hilly surface, wedging out over the
higher topography as a result either of non-deposition or pre-Ecca erosion. Records
of glaciation are very few in the Rhodesias, Nyasaland, Mozambique, Kenya and
Tanganyika, but are again fairly numerous in the Congo and Angola near" the

South America

Evidence of Late Paleozoic glaciation was first reported by DERBY (1888) in the
state of S~o Paulo, Brazil. There are now generally accepted evidences of glaciation
in other of the Brazilian states, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile,
and in the Falkland Islands off the Atlantic coast of southern Argentina. The
largest areas are found in eastern South America where there is a nearly continuous
band of glacial sediments through the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, S~o
Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul, overlapping into northern

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286


Uruguay, extending from 21 S to 33S, a distance of approximately 900 miles.

About 400 miles farther west another band of glacial outcrop extends from the
states of Goias and Mato Grosso, Brazil, south nearly across Paraguay (ECKEL,
In Brazil the glacial succession thickens northward from 100 m in Rio
Grande do Sul to 500 m in Parana and 1,000 m in S~o Paulo. In the western
Brazilian belt, north from Aquidauana, Mato Grosso at 20S, the tillites change
to washed tillites, conglomerates and varve-like shales, probably derived from
glacial sources. In southeastern Brazil there are striated pavements and evidences
of multiple glacial stages separated by fossiliferous marine sediments and, locally,
by coal.
Another major depositional location is the pre-Cordilleran area of the Andes
in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile where glacial sediments are reported intermittently
between 44S and 20S, a distance of 1,800 miles. In the pre-Cordilleran area
glacial sediments are generally conglomerates representing outwash deposits.
Commonly, they are in formations also including overlying sandstones and shales
of non-glacial origin. The sediments increase in thickness southward to about
500 m in the province of Chuput, southern Argentina (S~ERO, 1952). Some of
these western South American localities do not report tillites. In some places
varved rocks are reported directly above tillites. A majority of the descriptions of
pre-Cordilleran glacial deposits are sufficiently generalized and vague that it is
difficult to tell the thickness of glacial sediments as opposed to non-glacial.
Glacial pavements are not mentioned except in the state of San Juan (KEIDEL and
HARR1NGTON, 1938). DUNBAR (1940) has suggested that these may be slickensided
fault surfaces. It would appear desirable to restudy several of the pre-Cordilleran
localities with detailed descriptions of successions, pebble shapes, etc., to be sure
that non-glacial sediments may not be included. The glaciation of eastern South
America appears much better documented and proven than those of the pre-
Cordilleran areas.
Additional traces of South American glaciation are to be found in isolated
hills south of Buenos Aires, Argentina, which contain tillite to about 36S and
in the Falkland Islands at 52S.

A ustralia

Evidences of Late Paleozoic glaciation are found in all six Australian states and
in small parts of the Northern Territories. In Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia,
and Western Australia, many tillites are so poorly lithified that they can be dug
with a spade and resemble Pleistocene tills of North America. In New South
Wales the glacial sediments are best displayed in the Tasman geosyncline, and the
strata are quite firmly indurated. In Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, and parts
of Western Australia there are thick successions of tillites, generally somewhat

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286

268 H. R. WANLESS A N D J. R. C A N N O N




Earth-Sci. Rev., I (1966) 2 4 7 - 2 8 6

LATE P A L E O Z O I C G L A C I A T I O N 269

interbedded with conglomerates, sandstones, and varved siltstones. Thicknesses

of 2,500 ft. have been reported at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and about 1,500 ft.
near Wynyard, Tasmania. More than 500 ft. of uninterrupted tillite are exposed
in Hellyers Gorge, northwestern Tasmania, and the base is unexposed.
Glacial pavements are abundant in Tasmania and South Australia (Fig.2),
and are present in Victoria, Western Australia, and New South Wales. Striated
and faceted pebbles are common in the states of southern Australia, but un-
common in New South Wales and Queensland. Varve rocks in New South Wales
are sufficiently indurated that their outcrops have been opened as road metal
quarries, where thicknesses as great as 300 ft. may be studied. Erratic blocks or
pebbles are commonly found in varved sediments, evidently ice-rafted fragments
dropped in lakes of seasonal fine-grained sediment accumulation. In New South
Wales and Queensland sediments which can be certainly identified as of direct
glacial deposition are less common. Coarse water-sorted conglomerates are found
at intervals through a range of several thousand feet of strata in New South Wales.
At some places they contain fragments as large as 3 ft. in dimension, at least
50 miles from the nearest possible source. Some such conglomerates occur without
association with any other evidences of glaciation, and have not generally been
referred to glacial origin.
Above the tillites in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania, are thick
marine sediments referred to the Upper and Lower Marine series of the Permian,
which carry large erratic blocks, presumably ice-rafted. In many outcrops a
mixture of blocks of volcanic rocks, granites, chert, quartzite and phyllite is inter-
spersed through shales and sandstones with normal marine fauna rich in brachio-
pods. These sediments are generally called glacio-marine.
The latitudinal range of reported glacial evidences in Australia is from 16 S
near Bonaparte Gulf, Northern Territory, to 43 30' S in southern Tasmania.

New Zealand

The Permian of the South Island includes several thousands of feet of marine
laminated shales of a varve-like appearance, and a boulder conglomerate. No
dropped pebbles have been found, but the possibility of a glacigene origin for
some of the sediments has not been entirely eliminated (H. J. Harrington, personal
communication, 1964; WATERHOUSV, 1963).


Tillites and black shales form the base of the Sahna Group in southern Madagascar,
and are locally as thick as 400 m. The dark shales are finely laminated and re-
semble varves (BESAIRIE, 1952, p. 182). Striated pavements have been found (HIRTZ,

Earth-Sei. Rev., 1 (1966)247-286

270 H.R. WANLESS A N D J. R. C A N N O N


Glacial sediments including tillite and sandstones of interglacial age have recently
been reported from the Buckeye Range of Horlick Mountains at 8545 ' S and
114 W, less than 300 miles from the South Pole (LoNe, 1962, p.320). The tillites
rest on grooved, polished, and striated surfaces, and about 1 0 ~ of the rock frag-
ments included are striated. The tillites are approximately 800 ft. thick. Subse-
quently tillites have been found at two other Antarctic localities over a total
distance of 500 miles (HARRINGTON, 1964). Their interpretation as glacial appears
fully confirmed, and they are correlated with glacial deposits of South Africa,
Australia, and South America with confidence.

North America

HUMPHREY (1956) has described a Permian sequence from the Las Delicias area,
state of Coahuila, Mexico, near 28N and 105W. In this sequence more than
1,000 ft. of clastic beds include very coarse unsorted and unstratified conglomerates.
Many cobbles are also in thin-bedded shales and siltstones with marine faunas.
Very finely and regularly laminated clay shales resemble varve clays. Humphrey
believes that the sediments are of glacio-marine origin, dropped from floating ice
in marine environments. K1NO (1944) has objected to the glacial interpretation
because this would require very cold marine waters, while only 200 miles to the
north in west Texas, a rich marine fauna of presumed warm water habitat is
found. Turbidity currents and marine slumping have been proposed, but do not
seem adequate to Humphrey to explain the associations found. Because of its
great geographic separation from other Late Paleozoic glacial areas and the lack
of tillites, striated cobbles or glacial pavement this reference to glaciation remains
in doubt.

The deposits at Squantum, near Boston, Massachusetts, have been proposed as
glacial tillites and associated varve clays and outwash gravels (MANSFIELD, 1906).
SAYLES (1914, 1919) made a thorough comparison of sedimentary structures of
the tillites and varves with corresponding Pleistocene examples and felt the
comparisons fully corroborated the glacial origin of the Squantum deposits. The
Squantum deposits were considered continental and of uncertain age as they are
unfossiliferous. Doxv (1961) advocates a moderately deepwater origin, a product
of subaqueous mass movements for the "tillites". He believes the large fragments
were derived from piedmont Roxbury gravels, subsequently drowned. Dott does
not rule out the possibility that the Squantum deposits may be glacial, but favors
the marine origin.

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286



The age or ages of Late Paleozoic glaciation should be determinable through

stratigraphic relations with overlying, underlying, or interbedded fossiliferous
rocks, or possibly from fossils enclosed in the glacial sediments. The fossiliferous
strata which adjoin or are interbedded with strata recording glaciation belong
to the unusual suite of Gondwana rocks, in which the dominant plants Glossop-
teris, Gangamopteris, and Vertebraria, and in the lower strata Rhacopteris, are
essentially unknown in Europe, North America, or Asia north of the Himalayas.
This flora has been widely referred to the Permian, although the Permian age has
been challenged. BARBOSA (1958) attempted to date the minor floral elements
of the Glossopteris flora of South America with counterparts in the northern
hemisphere and concluded (p.230) that the Glossopteris flora began in the Namurian
(Middle Carboniferous) and dominated the Gondwana lands during the later
Carboniferous. On this basis he suggested that the glaciation began in South
America during the Tournaisian (Lower Carboniferous) and endured in Australia
to the Lower Permian.
HILL and DENMEAD (1960, p.184) point out that it is generally believed that
in Queensland, Australia, the oldest Permo-Carboniferous marine beds of the
Bowen Basin (Taeniothaerus and Eurydesma zones) are probably Sakmarian, basal
Permian of Russia and Wolfcamp of North America. Beneath these marine zones
there are 6,000 ft. of non-marine strata with Glossopteris, whose reference to the
Permian is doubtful. In the Irwin River valley, Western Australia, the Holmwood
Shale is a marine stratum directly overlying the Nangetty tillite and is characterized
by the goniatite Metalegoeerasjacksoni (McWHAE et al., 1958, pp.75-76), of Sak-
marian age. Because of direct superposition of the marine zone over the tillite
and the lack of fossil remains in the tillite, the tillite has commonly been considered
early Permian by inference. The environmental conditions between the Nangetty
and Holmwood must have changed profoundly; it is not obvious that the two
were direct sequents. In a boring in the Canning River, northwestern Australia,
spores of Glossopteris were found in a shaly zone within a tillite succession in the
Grant Formation (B. Balme, personal communication, 1959), and this was used
as evidence of the Permian age of the glacial deposits. In Tasmania the glacial
sediments rest on an eroded floor of Lower Paleozoic rocks, contain no fossils,
and are overlain by fossiliferous shales with Lower Permian faunas, as in Western
Australia. However, blocks and pebbles are conspicuous in the Lower and even
Middle Permian strata of Tasmania. If these fragments were ice-rafted, they
strongly suggest the presence of glaciers during the Lower or Middle Permian in
or near Tasmania. In New South Wales CAMPBELL (1962, p.39) has found that
the Upper Kutting Group, now called Currabubula (VOlSEY and WILLIAMS, 1964),
which includes glacial sediments intertongues with marine strata called Upper
Burindi toward the northeast. A zone containing abundant Levipustula levis, a fossil

Earth-Sei. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286

272 H. R. W A N L E S S A N D J. R. C A N N O N

of Moscovian age, in northeastern New South Wales lies between tillites, confirming
the Westphalian (Upper Carboniferous) age of that glaciation. However, in New
South Wales, also, the Lower Permian Allandale and Lochinvar Formations, and
the Middle Permian Branxton, Muree, and Mulbring Formations are richly fossilif-
erous and contain an abundance of large erratic blocks of a variety of rock types,
some of which do not outcrop within less than 100 miles of the exposed erratic
blocks. It is generally supposed that these erratics were ice-rafted, probably fi'om
tidewater glaciers. W. R. Browne (personal communication, 1959) has suggested
that the Permian glaciers were in the Australian Shield area west of the Tasman
geosyncline, and that subsequent erosion had removed all evidences of glaciation.
In S~o Paulo, Parana, and Santa Catarina states, Brazil, there are marine
fossiliferous beds in interglacial sediments and immediately above the highest
tillite yielding Middle Pennsylvanian fossils, thus dating all the glaciations as
Pennsylvanian (DE OLWEIRA, 1956, p.33). The fossils found between and above the
tillites, on the basis of recent restudy, are endemic forms, and generally unsuited
to differentiate between Carboniferous and Early Permian ages. In Argentina
HARRINGTON (1956C, pp.138-140) referred the glacio-marine conglomerates of
the pre-Cordilleran to the Pennsylvanian, but also referred to Permian glacial
deposits in the hills south of Buenos Aires. In 1962 he referred all glacial sediments
near Buenos Aires to the Upper Carboniferous. He referred the Falkland Island
glacial deposits to the Permian. They are unconformable on Devonian strata,
unfossiliferous, and overlain by strata with Glossopteris.
In Africa the Dwyka glacial deposits nearly everywhere lie on a beveled
floor of older Paleozoic (Table Mountain) or older strata. Marine fossils are
virtually absent through the Karroo strata of South Africa, but the pelecypod
Eurydesma has been found above glacial deposits in South West Africa (DuToIT,
1953, p.279) and in two localities in South Africa, Gangamopteris has been found
at the base of the Dwyka tillite succession. Age reference of the Dwyka tillites
is to the Upper Carboniferous and of the overlying shales to the basal Permian.
In India fossils do not appear to have been found in the Talchir glacial
conglomerates, but the Glossopteris-Gangamopteris flora is known at several
localities from immediately overlying strata (KRISHNAN,1960, p.279).
In Antarctica (LONG, 1962) the tillite is overlain by 550 ft. of unfossiliferous
black shale, which is overlain by a coal-bearing series yielding Glossopteris.
DUTOIT (1936, pp.645, 651-652) indicated that glaciation first started in South
America and New South Wales in Dinantian-Namurian time, covered most of
Gondwanaland areas during the Upper Carboniferous and was continued into the
Lower and Middle Permian in the glacio-marine series of New South Wales and
As numerous episodes of glaciation and interglacial melting would result
in frequent eustatic shifts in sea level WANLESS and SHEPARD (1936) suggested
that widespread cyclic sedimentation in the northern hemisphere involving frequent

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1(1966)247 286


large migrations of the strand line, might be contemporary with and related to
Gondwanaland glaciation. They noted that in the United States cyclic sedimen-
tation became prominent in the later Mississippian (Late Vis6an, Early Namurian)
and continued through the Pennsylvanian (Westphalian-Stephanian) to about the
middle of the Permian. This span of time generally corresponds with that defined
by DUTOIT (1936) for the duration of Gondwanaland glaciation, and also corres-
ponds well with ages of cyclic sedimentation in Europe and Asia. The relation
between cyclic sedimentation and sea level fluctuation resulting from glacial growth
and waning was also supported by WHEELER and MURRAY (1957).


In an area with glacial sediments, evidences of more than one glacial episode
require proof of deglaciation and attendant weathering, erosion or non-glacial
sedimentation. For the Pleistocene of North America (LEIGHTON and MAC-
CLINTOCK, 1930; FRYE et al., 1960) much attention has been paid to the weathering
profile and zones of leaching, oxidation, and silicate decomposition, which permit
proof of true interglacial episodes, as contrasted with records of minor fluctuations
of the margin of a single ice sheet. Interglacial ages have also been interpreted by
the interbedding of fossiliferous sediments, and of old soil zones. If glacial sedi-
mentation were on the floor of the ocean beneath an ice shelf there would not
necessarily be evidence of interglacial conditions unless the ice shelf also melted
Most of the older references to Late Paleozoic glaciation refer only to one
glacial episode, but there are several accounts of interbedding of glacial sediments
with nonglacial sands, gravels, or shales, at some times fossilliferous. In $5.o Paulo
state, Brazil, five glacial stages are recognized (DE OLIVE1RA, 1956, p.32). Coal
beds are found in the first and third interglacial stages and in northern Parana
in the third stage, and marine fossiliferous beds are found in the second inter-
glacial stage in S~.o Paulo (DE ALMEIDA and BARBOSA, 1951).
Deeply oxidized tillites occur beneath gray unoxidized tillites at Bacchus
Marsh, Victoria, Australia, presumably the result of interglacial weathering. In
the same area several tillite zones are separated by fine-grained sandstones (Fig.3).
BOWEN (1958), following a thorough study of a succession of 2,500 ft. of strata
in the Bacchus Marsh area reported 51 tillites. The base of the succession is un-
exposed. Earlier DAVID (1950, p.316) reported 11 tillites at this locality. BRILL
(1956) reported a form of cycle in the Middle Permian marine fossiliferous Berrie-
dale Limestone of Tasmania, in which the limestone, at more or less regular inter-
vals shows an increase in clastic content, and is associated with erratic pebbles,
probably ice-rafted. This may show a periodicity in glaciation or in glacial melting.

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 2 4 7 - 2 8 6


Fig.3. lnterbedded tillite and sandstone, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. Sandstone forms projecting

Earth-Sei. Rev.,l (1966)247-286



Regional mapping of patterns of glacial striae commonly suggests both the local
direction of ice flow and possible centers of glacial accumulation. Another method
of some promise involves matching erratic blocks included in glacial deposits
with source areas for similar blocks. This method is especially useful where
applied to rock types known to exist only in a single small area, such as the Upper
Huronian jasper conglomerate of the Patrician center of Pleistocene glacial dis-
persal north of Lake Huron (SLAWSON, 1933) and the boulder train of shonkinite
from Snake Butte, Montana (KNECHTEL, 1942). For Pleistocene glaciation the
glacial movement is generally normal to end moraines, but as moraines of Paleo-
zoic glaciers are rarely if ever recognizable, this method is not available for the
present study. Some studies of till fabric (HOLMES, 1941) indicate that the direction
of ice movement may be determined from statistical measurement of inequi-
dimensional rock fragments in drift. Deformation structures due to overriding
ice have been used to determine direction of advance of Late Paleozoic ice sheets
in Brazil (MARTIN, 1961).
Fig. l shows by arrows the directions of movement based on glacial striae
or boulder trains where such records have been discovered. In Africa DUTOIT
(1953, p.277) and VEATCH (1935, p.149) have mapped the general flow pattern
as reconstructed from striae in southern Africa and in the Congo area. Dutoit
locates four centers of dispersal: (1) in the Windhoek highlands of southern South-
west Africa; (2) in the Griqualand West mountain area of north-central Orange
Free State; (3) the largest, in central Transvaal; and (4) in the present Indian
Ocean, east of Durban, Natal. Ice from the major Transvaal dispersal center de-
flected the Indian Ocean ice southwestward from their junction in Zululand, and
the Transvaal ice overrode the Windhoek ice in southeastern South West Africa. In
the Congo and Angola striae indicate glacial advance from the southwest. From
this fact VEATCH (1935, p. 150) concludes that the Windhoek Highlands and Trans-
vaal centers of Dutoit might be shifted northward to the vicinity of Luano,
Northern Rhodesia, about 600 miles farther north than the Transvaal area. He
also notes that in successive glacial stages there appears to have been a migration
of glacial centers from east to west. Excellent striated pavements in Madagascar
are illustrated by HIRTZ (1950), but direction of movement is not stated.
In eastern South America, in southern Brazil and Uruguay, glacial movement
was from the east, northeast, and southeast, with centers of dispersal evidently
east of the present Atlantic coast line (MAACK, 1952, p.357). Later MAACK (1960,
pp.49-50) reports the presence of Precambrian quartzites colored dark violet,
reddish, and blue gray in tillites in southern Brazil, the rock types being reported
as unknown in Brazil. In South Africa he found identical quartzite types in the
Precambrian Transvaal and Otavi systems and in the early Paleozoic Matsap-
Waterberg and Nama Formations. He confirmed identity by mineralogic analysis

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966)247 28

276 H.R. W A N L E S S A N D J. R. C A N N O N

in thin sections and by spectroscopic analysis. This convinced Maack that the
source of the quartzites in the tillites was in South Africa, and that the south
Atlantic Ocean had not yet come into existence. Similar Precambrian quartzites
are believed to outcrop in Brazil (A.Rocha Campos, personal communication,
Glacial erratics near Capivary, S~.o Paulo State, Brazil, include fi'agments
of a jasper conglomerate (COLEMAN, 1918, pp.313-314) previously unknown in
South America, and DUTOIT (1927, p.74) remarked on its close resemblance to
conglomerates of the Matsop Series of Griqualand West, South Africa. Later
similar conglomerates were found in places near Blumenau, Santa Catarina, about
300 miles southwest of the Capivary locality.
In the tillites of the pre-Cordillera of southern Bolivia are found granite
boulders derived from the Brazilian shield to the east or northeast (AHLFELD,
1956, p.179). In the west Falkland Islands a glacial pavement indicates movement
from the south. Glacial striae in San Juan State, Argentina, indicate glacial advance
from the south-southeast (DuToIT, 1927, p.28-35).
Glacial striae occur in India near Bihar, central India (SMITH, 1963)with ice
movement toward N 40 o E and in Pakistan in the Salt Range, indicating movement
to the north or northeast. Included boulders in the boulder beds of the Salt
Range suggest derivation from the Aravalli Range about 400 miles to the south.
In Australia glacially striated pavements are known in South Australia,
Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales. Source areas of erratic blocks indicate
direction of glacial advance in Western Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.
In the Inman Valley, South Australia, a belt averaging three or four miles
in width is drift-filled, and the finest Late Paleozoic glacial striae known in Australia
(Fig.2) show ice advance from the east across the Fleurieu Peninsula. The westward
movement is confirmed by the presence of large blocks of the distinctive coarse-
grained Victor Harbor granite in the tillite clear across the peninsula. The Inman
Valley depression below the tillite is U-shaped, and cirque-like features are identifi-
able in a southern tributary, Back Valley (CAMPANA and W~LSOY, 1955).
In western Victoria the Glenelg valley shows tillites and varve clays at
numerous exposures. It is about 30 miles west of the Grampian Range, composed
largely of red and white sandstones, but no fragments of such sandstones were
found among the erratics of the tillite. Each of three or four samples contained
up to 1 0 ~ of marble, a rock not known anywhere in Victoria. It is proposed that
a glacial divide existed near the South Australia-Victoria boundary, the South
Australia glaciers moving west across the Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island,
and the Lower York Peninsula, while the western Victoria glaciers moved east
or southeast. At Bacchus Marsh, west of Melbourne, Victoria, glacial movement,
as recorded in striae was from southwest to south. At this locality BOWEN (1958)
reported 51 tillites, so successive glaciers may have had somewhat different
directions of flow through the area.

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 2 4 7 2 8 6


In Tasmania two locations with striae in the northwest and south-central

parts of the island both show glacial advance from the west with dispersal center
in what is now the Indian Ocean.
In Australia the senior author collected more than 100 sets of 100 pebble
or cobble chips each from tillites, outwash conglomerates, erratics in lacustrine
varves and in glacio-marine sediments, and in non-glacial conglomerates ranging
in age from Upper Devonian to Triassic and from all Australian states. These were
roughly classified into rock types by percentage, and an attempt was made to tie
any unusual rock types with likely source areas. The rocks are principally vol-
canic in New South Wales and Tasmania, but also include granite, quartzite, and
chert and quartz pebbles. Metamorphic rocks such as marble and schist were
found, but nowhere common. Red jasper and serpentine in glacio-marine sediments
of Middle Permian age of eastern New South Wales show derivation from the
New England highlands where such rocks crop out. Their absence in Carboniferous
rocks from the same area indicate either a different direction of glacial advance or
nonexposure of the jasper and serpentine until the Permian. The only glacial
striae known in New South Wales show a direction of advance from the S 15 o E.
This line would intersect the east coast of Australia about 60 miles from the out-
crop, suggesting a center of dispersal in the present area of the Pacific Ocean.
The Branxton Formation of Middle Permian age in the Hunter River valley
contains numerous large blocks of fossiliferous Devonian quartzite, which must
have come from the southwest to west, and a distance of at least 100 miles.
No glacial pavements have been described in Western Australia. At three
localities between Mingenew in the Irwin River basin and Geraldton on the Indian
Ocean coast, collections of pebble chips were made from the tillite. All fragments
are Precambrian rocks from the Western Australian shield. The chips in each
collection were examined by Dr. A. Wilson of the University of Western Australia
(personal communication, 1959). Each assemblage of rock types characterizes
a different small area in the shield. When lines were drawn from these source
areas to the sample localities, all indicated movement from S 20 E.
In the Buckeye Range, Horlick Mountains, Antarctica, a striated pavement
indicates glacial movement from west to east.
HUMPHREY (1956) mentioned no source for the large fragments in the boulder
clay in northern Mexico which he regarded as a possible tillite, and no glacial
pavement was observed.
DOTT (1961) believes the source of the fragments in the Squantum "tillite"
of Massachusetts is the associated Roxbury Conglomerate, which he regards as
marine to subaerial gravel accumulated near a land mass. He believes, however,
that redeposition in the Squantum deposits was by mass slumping, rather than
glacial processes.

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247 286




A great ice age requires unusual climatic conditions for its development, and its
causes have been and remain puzzling. Possible causes include: (l) total decrease
in solar radiation received from the sun, refrigerating the whole earth (HUNTING-
TON, 1914); (2) presence of an ice-free ocean in a frigid climate (EwING and DONN,
1963); (3) changes in the pattern of ocean current circulation, as a result of opening
or closing narrow straits; (4) shielding of the earth from solar heat by an atmospher-
ic concentration of volcanic dust (HuMPHREYS, 1913); (5) an extensive cloud cover
(SIMPSON, 1934); (6) high elevation of the continents above sea level following
orogeny (SPENCER, 1898); (7) a shift in the position of the geographic poles and
thus of axes of rotation (RuNCORN, 1959, 1963); or (8) rearrangement of the
continental blocks by sliding (drift) with reference to each other.
The Late Paleozoic glaciation, excluding dubious areas in Mexico and Massa-
chusetts, includes areas ranging from 32N to 85S and from 70W to 155E.
With the exception of South Australia, there is little evidence that the glaciation
whose record survives was in alpine terrain. It has therefore been a favorite project
of geologists to shift the continental masses of the earth so that the glaciated lands
India, Africa, South America, Australia, and Antarctica were brought into close
proximity with each other and the contemporary pole (MAACK, 1960, p.40).
Published examples for the Late Paleozoic include DUTOIT (1921, p.127; 1936,
p.76); KING (1958, p.82); RODE (1958); MAACK (1960, p.40); MA (1960, p.115);
AHMAD (1961, p.85); and HAMILTON (1963). In a representative restoration (AH-
MAD, 1961), Cape San Roque of Brazil is fitted into the Gulf of Guinea, Africa;
Madagascar is closer to the African coast, adjoining Tanganyika and Kenya;
the Great Australian Bight of the southern coast is draped around the eastern
extremity of Madagascar, with 15 shift of Madagascar and 90 rotation of
Australia. India rotated joins the Somalian bulge of East Aflica and the southern
coast of Arabia; the Falkland Islands are just off the south coast of Africa and
the east coast of Argentina; and Antarctica is a short distance from the southeast
coast of Africa, the southern tip of South America and the east coast of Australia.
The glaciation extends in a long elliptical band from a western extreme in Argen-
tina and Bolivia and an eastern in the Salt Range of Pakistan, a northern extreme
in the Congo and a southern in northern Australia. A "center of glaciation" in-
cludes the Transvaal and Mozambique, Africa; Madagascar; and southern and
southwestern Australia. By this rearrangement glacial flow radiates in all directions
from this "center". Although this arrangement might be suited for a high plateau-
like land now segmented into several continents and islands, it is noteworthy
that all the same areas a little later (Middle Permian) were the sites of important
Permian coal beds, which would seem to require low swampy lands with luxuriant
plant growth and temperate climates.

Earth-Sci. Rev.. I (1966)247-286


Paleomagnetism has recently provided a research tool of importance in

the interpretation of distribution of ancient climates, migration of magnetic
poles, and by inference geographic poles, and the proof or disproof of con-
tinental drift (Cox and DOELL, 1960; HESeERS, 1955; RUNCORN, 1959, 1963).
Measurements of remanent magnetism in ancient rocks have shown that while the
magnetic poles shifted moderately from the Cretaceous to the present, their
migration was almost planet-wide in older times. Although the present magnetic
poles are neither coincident with the poles of rotation nor symmetrical with
respect to the center of the earth, paleoclimatic evidence supports a fairly fixed
geographic pole with migrating magnetic pole through a range of about 15
of the pole of rotation during that time. By inference, the rotational poles of pre-
Cretaceous should generally follow the magnetic pole. Complicating the picture
of magnetic pole location is the fact that readings from rocks of nearly identical
age from different continents may give very unlike results. For example, in Table
II four polar locations are cited for rocks of Late Carboniferous age (Cox and
DOELL, 1960, pp.702-705).
Although some process such as recrystallization may have caused reorienta-
tion of magnetic detrital grains after sedimentation, such divergences as listed
above are more commonly interpreted as indicating that at the time of deposition
of the strata the several continents did not have the same relations to contemporary
magnetic poles to each other as they do today. The four examples cited are all of the
probable age of Late Paleozoic glacial deposits, the African and Australian records
being from varved sediments interbedded in glacial successions.
BAIN (1960, p.89) considered the Late Paleozoic glaciation all Permian.
His map of Permian climatic zones places the north pole at latitude 7 S, longitude
165 W in the Pacific Ocean near the Phoenix Islands northeast of Fiji and the
south pole in the vicinity of the Cameroons, west Africa. According to this map,



Locality Pole location reading Geographic location

latitude longitude

P e n n a n t Sandstone, Gloucestershire, 48'N 126 E Manchuria

Great Britain
Fossil Creek Limestone, Arizona, U.S.A. 23: N 130 E Pacific Ocean, near Iwo
Jima, s o u t h of T o k y o
K u t t u n g varved sediments, 32' N 15 W Atlantic Ocean,
N e w S o u t h Wales, A u s t r a l i a west of M o r o c c o
D w y k a varved clays, South Africa 36 N 151 W Pacific Ocean, 800 miles
n o r t h of Hawaii

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966)247-286


the glaciated areas of the Late Paleozoic would be distributed in latitudinal zones
as shown in Table III. Bain does not accept evidence of Western Australian glacia-
tion because of its latitudinal position on his maps and does not mention glaciation
of western South America. The first report of Antarctic tillites is later than the
publication of Bain's maps.



Eastern South America 25 35 S

Western South America 15 S
Southern Africa and Madagascar 45 75 '~ S
India 25-35 N
Southeastern Australian areas 32 N
Western Australia 15 N
Antarctica near 0

A more common method of using polar shift to explain Late Paleozoic gla-
cial distribution is to place one of the poles in southern Africa, and to crowd
South America, India, southern Africa and Australia close together and near the
pole so that glacial dispersals might involve movement of glacial ice between one
present continent and another. This idea would find support in (/) the evidence
of glacial flow in eastern Brazil from the Atlantic and the reported finding of
African rocks in Brazilian tillites; (2) the movement in India from the south,
as though the dispersal center was toward the Indian Ocean; (3) the eastward
advance across Tasmania from the direction of the southern ocean; and (4) move-
ment in New South Wales from the southeast with a dispersal center in the present
STEHLI and HELSEY (1963, p. 158A) analyzed the distribution of Permian
brachiopods in the northern hemisphere, using quantitative paleontologic tech-
niques to define ancient planetary temperature gradients. They found that this
distribution fits the earth model with poles of rotation in or near present locations
much better than any of the reconstructions based on theories of polar shift. They
point out the desirability of reexamining the concept that geographic poles
necessarily follow the extensive migrations of the magnetic poles.


Some localities for which evidence of Late Paleozoic glaciation has been described
should probably be interpreted otherwise. These include Squantum, Massachu-

Earth-Sci. Rev., 1 (1966) 247-286


setts, Las Delicias, Mexico, and perhaps some localities in the pre-Cordillera of
South America, and New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. Evidence
appears acceptable for other localities in India, Africa, South America, Antarctica,
Australia, Madagascar and the Falkland Islands. Lack of common faunal and
floral elements between Holarctica and Gondwanaland continents has long con-
fused the dating of the glaciations. The present dominant opinion is that the
principal glaciation was during the later Carboniferous, with some possibilities
of Early Carboniferous glaciations of Australia and South America, and with
continuing glaciation, principally recorded in glacio-marine sediments in eastern
Australia and Tasmania.
The successions of glacial deposits have rarely had the detailed study neces-
sary to define the number of glacial episodes involved. Published literature common-
ly refers to one to five stages, but the careful work of BOWEN (1958) revealed 51
stages in Victoria, Australia. Detailed studies of other areas will probably increase
the complexity of the glacial record. Most known evidence of directions of glacial
movement from striated pavements has been reported and interpreted, but little
attempt has been made so far to match glacial erratics with source rocks as a key
to locating centers of dispersal. Experience in Australia suggests that this method
would deserve much more application. Many restorations of dispersal have been
made with assumptions of continental drift and/or polar shift. It seems possible
that separate centers of dispersal on several continents may be found acceptable.
Evidence such as that of Maack of African rocks as erratics in South American
tillites should be critically reexamined. Climatic zone interpretation of paleo-
magnetic data is so confused at present because of divergent polar locations for
particular periods of times based on readings from different continents that it
seems premature to map the pattern of continents and geographic poles at the
time of Late Paleozoic glaciation.


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(Received November 25, 1964)

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