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A sedimentary rock formed by lithification of till, especially pre-Pleistocene till.



any one of the ancient moraines occurring as rudaceous, unsorted formations that have undergone consolidation and, sometimes, even metamorphism. Tillites are formed from a silty unstratified mass known as glacier milk; they also contain boulders bearing glacial striations.

A distinction is made between marine tillites, formed as a result of glacial transport and deposition in the sea, and continental tillites, the composition of which often provides information on the type of rock underlying the glacier and, by extension, on the ablation area and direction of the glacier. Tillites are often confused with similar rocks of nonglacial origin, for example, the deposits of mud-laden torrents and the sedimentary rock formed underwater from the deposits of turbidity currents. Tillites are testaments to periods of glaciation; they are known to have existed since the early Proterozoic era and are very widely distributed in late Proterozoic deposits on nearly all continents. Their horizons are encountered among the Upper Riphean strata of the Eastern European Platform, the Upper Ordovician regions of Africa, and the Upper Carboniferous and Permian regions of the southern continents. The thickness of tillites reaches tens and hundreds of meters.

Tillites are widely used in solving problems of stratification and paleogeography (paleoclimatology), as well as in prospecting for sedimentary minerals (iron ores). A comparison of tillites with anthropogenic moraines makes it possible to obtain a general picture of glacial sedimentation.


Gretskaia, T. A: “Tillity i ikh znachenie dlia resheniia geologiche-skikh zadach.” In Itogi nauki: Seriia “Geologiia.” Moscow, 1966.


References in periodicals archive ?
He firmly rejected the pre-Wegener hypothesis of 'an Antarctic continent of which Australia, South Africa and a part of South America were possibly but lobes' as an explanation for Permo-Carboniferous tillites in the tropics (Davis, 1908).
Alfred Wegener saw the global scattering of tillites in a very different light; here was clear evidence that continents were previously clustered together and had since been moved apart (Wegener, 1912, 1924).
The work of Mawson (1949) on the Sturtian Tillites of South Australia ('the greatest thing of the kind recorded anywhere in the world; Mawson, 1958) is a good example of the classical approach to interpretation of sedimentary strata containing poorly sorted, laminated and banded rocks.
Kirschvink had found a way around the twin problems of freeing Earth from the ice and forming the iron deposits in the tillites.
Taking the rock record in Namibia, Africa, as their primary reference, they focused their story on the carbonate rocks that almost always lie atop the Neoproterozoic tillites.
The Harvard team showed that if the global warming proposed by Kirschvink occurred after the Neoproterozoic glaciation, then carbonates atop the Neoproterozoic tillites are precisely what would be expected.