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Saprolite remnants as indicators of pre-glacial landform genesis in southeast Sweden

Journal article
Authors Mats Olvmo
K. Lidmar-Bergström
Kerstin Ericson
Johan M. Bonow
Published in Geografiska Annaler Series a-Physical Geography
Volume 87A
Issue 3
Pages 447-460
ISSN 0435-3676
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 447-460
Language en
Keywords saprolite, neogene weathering, landscape genesis, joint block hills, glacial erosion, glaciofluvial erosion, south sweden, weathering mantles, northeast scotland, baltic shield, fennoscandia, evolution, surfaces, canada
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Twenty-six sites with remnants of gravelly saprolites (grus) have been located in southeast Sweden. Joint block hills (castle kopjes) and steep rock walls with weathered joints as well as rounded boulders are documented to have an origin in deep weathering and subsequent stripping of saprolites. The saprolite remnants and landforms result from the fragmentation of the re-exposed sub-Cambrian peneplain along fracture systems. Only shallow saprolites occur on the elevated intact parts of the sub-Cambrian peneplain, while saprolites up to 20 m thick are encountered in areas where the sub-Cambrian peneplain is fractured and dissected. Neogene uplift with reactivation of the weathering system is thought to be the main cause of saprolite formation. Deep weathering is thus judged to have been the major agent of landform formation in the study area, while glacial and glaciofluvial erosion has contributed mainly by stripping saprolites, detaching corestones, and plucking joint blocks along weathered joints.

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