Clastic dike

A clastic dike is a seam of sedimentary material that fills an open fracture in and cuts across sedimentary rock strata or layering in other rock types. Clastic dikes form rapidly by fluidized injection (mobilization of pressurized pore fluids) or passively by water, wind, and gravity (sediment swept into open cracks). Diagenesis may play a role in the formation of some dikes.[1] Clastic dikes are commonly vertical or near-vertical. Centimeter-scale widths are common, but thicknesses range from millimetres to metres. Length is usually many times width.

Clastic dikes are found in sedimentary basin deposits worldwide. Formal geologic reports of clastic dikes began to emerge in the early 19th century.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

Terms synonymous with clastic dike include: clastic intrusion, sandstone dike, fissure fill, soft-sediment deformation, fluid escape structure, seismite, injectite, liquefaction feature, neptunian dike (passive fissure fills), paleoseismic indicator, pseudo ice wedge cast, sedimentary insertion, sheeted clastic dike, synsedimentary filling, tension fracture, hydraulic injection dike, and tempestite.

Environments of formation

Clastic dike environments include:

A large variety of dikes are found in the geologic record. However, clastic dikes are typically produced by seismic disturbance and liquefaction of high water content sediments. Examples of this type are many.[24][25][26] Clastic dikes are paleoseismic indicators in certain geologic settings.[27][28] Several qualitative, field-based systems have been developed to help distinguish seismites[29] from soft sediment deformation features [30][31] formed by non-seismic processes.[32][33][34][35][36][37][38]
Results from analytical modeling of clastic dike injection in soft rocks[39] indicate propagation occurred at a rate of approximately 4 to 65 m/s at driving pressures of 1–2 MPa. Emplacement duration (<2 s) is similar to the speed with which acoustic energy (pressure waves) moves through partially lithified sedimentary rock.
Sandstone dikes formed by downward injection are found along Black Dragon wash upstream of the famous petroglyphs area, San Rafael Swell, Utah.
Sandstone dikes with cataclastically deformed sand grains, sourced in the Permian White Rim Sandstone, are found within Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands National Park, Utah,[40][41][42][43][44] at Roberts Rift,[45] and elsewhere.[46][47] Commonly, the fill is composed of angular grains, evidence that the injected material was lithified prior to impact and was crushed during injection into fractures (preexisting or impact-formed).
Clastic dike swarms associated with salt dome diapirism are reported from the Dead Sea region.[48][49]
  • Clastic dikes associated with glaciers
Sand injection features are reported to have formed under heavy loads and confining pressures beneath grounding glacial ice.[50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63]
  • Clastic dikes in resistant bedrock
Though unusual, a significant number of reports describe sedimentary material intruding fractured crystalline bedrock, usually within fault zones. Some of the articles referenced here describe lithified clastic dikes.[64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73]
  • Clastic dikes in storm deposits
Cyclic stresses from large waves can cause wet sediments to fluidize, forming various types of soft sediment deformation features including clastic dikes.[74][75][76][77]

Clastic dikes in the Columbia Basin

Tens of thousands of unusual clastic dikes (1 mm—350 cm wide, up to 50 m deep) penetrate sedimentary and bedrock units in the Columbia Basin of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Their origin remains in question. The dikes may be related to loading by outburst floods. Other evidence suggests they are sediment-filled desiccation cracks (mudcracks). Some have suggested the dikes are ice wedge casts or features related to the melting of buried ice.[78] Earthquake shaking and liquefaction is invoked by others to explain the dikes (i.e., sand blows).

The silt-, sand-, and gravel-filled dikes in the Columbia Basin are primarily sourced in the Touchet Formation (or the Touchet-equivalent Willamette Silt) and intrude downward into older geologic units, including:

With phrasing typical of an early-century American geologist, Olaf P. Jenkins[97] provides one of the first descriptions of the features,

It appears, then, that in every case fissures formed and then fragmental materials are dropped, washed, or pressed into them, from above, below, or from the sides. This action has taken place in open fissures; under water in fissures on the bed of the sea or other bodies of water; and also far below the surface of the earth in consolidated rocks. The filling from below has come about by pressure of some sort, in some cases undoubtedly hydrostatic.


  1. Richard J. Davies, R.J.; Huuse, M.; Hirst, P.; Cartwright, J.; Yang, Y., 2006, Giant clastic intrusions primed by silica diagenesis, Geology, 34, p. 917-920
  2. Darwin, C., 1833–1834, Geological observations on the volcanic islands and parts of South America visited during the voyage of the H.M.S. “Beagle” (2nd Edition), p. 438
  3. Hay, R., 1892, Sandstone dikes in northwestern Nebraska, GSA Bulletin, 3, p. 50-55
  4. Case, E.C.; 1895, On the mud and sand dikes of the White River Miocene, Ithaca, N.Y., American Geologist, 24, p. 248-254
  5. Cross, W., 1894, Intrusive sandstone dikes in granite, GSA Bulletin, 5, p. 225-230
  6. Crosby, W.O., 1897, Sandstone dikes accompanying the great fault of Ute Pass, Colorado, Essex Institute Bulletin, 27, p. 113-147
  7. Diller, J.S., 1890, Sandstone dikes, GSA Bulletin, 1, p. 411-442
  8. Newsom, J.F., 1903, Clastic dikes, Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 14, p. 227-268
  9. Ransome, F.L., 1900, A peculiar clastic dike near Ouray, Colorado, and its associated deposit of silver ore, Transactions of the American Institute of Mineralogical Engineers, 30, p. 227-236
  10. Pavlow, A.P., 1896, On dikes of Oligocene sandstone in the Neocomian clasys of the District of Altyr, in Russia, The Geological Magazine, New series, v. iii, p. 49-53
  11. Kirkby, J.W., 1860, On the occurrences of "sand pipes" in the magnesian limestones of Durham, The Geologist (London), p. 293-298, 329–336
  12. Prestwich, J., 1855, On the origin of the sand and gravel pipes in the chalk of the London Tertiary district, Quarterly(?) Journal of the Geological Society of London, v. ii, p. 64-84
  13. Strangeways, W.T.H.F., 1821, Dikes near Great Pulcovca near Saint Petersburg, Russia, Transactions of the Geological Society of London, v. V, p. 386, 407, 408 and Plates 25–28
  14. Cuvier & Brongniart, 1822, Sandstone pipes near Paris, France (Description geognostiques des Environs de Paris), p. 76, 134, 141
  15. Murchison, R.I., 1827, Quartz sandstone veins in grit near Kintradwell in Somersetshire, Transactions of the Geological Society of London, 2nd series, v. ii, p. 304
  16. Murchison, R.I., 1829, On the coal-field of Brora in Sutherlandshire, and some other stratified deposits in the north of Scotland, Transactions of the Geological Society, Second Series, 2, p. 293-326
  17. Strickland, H.E., 1838, Calcareous sandstone dikes in Triassic shale at Ethie in Rossshire, Transactions of the Geological Society of London, v. V, 2nd series, p. 599-600
  18. Strickland, H.E., 1840, On some remarkable dikes of Calcareous Grit, at Ethie in Ross-shire, Transactions of the Geological Society, Second Series, 5, p. 599-600
  19. Buckland, 1839, Transactions of the British Association for 1839, p. 76
  20. Lyell, C., 1839, Sand pipes near Norwich, England, London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine, 3rd series, v. XV, p. 257
  21. Several more c. 1850 references to dikes in Newsom (1903)
  22. White, E.E., 1916, Analysis of slate and dike, Engineering & Mining Journal, v. 101, p. 433-434
  23. Dana, J.D., 1849, Wide sandstone dikes in bluffs near Astoria, OR, p. 654-656 in Geology, Volume 10 of the U.S. Navy Exploring Expedition 1838–1842, under the command of Charles Wilkes, C. Sherman publisher, Philadelphia, 18 volume set
  24. G. Neef, A clastic dike-sill assemblage in late Miocene (c. 6 Ma) strata, Annedale, Northern Wairarapa, New Zealand, 1991, New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics, Vol. 34: 87–91 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-29. Retrieved 2007-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. Peterson, C.D., 1997, Coseismic paleoliquefaction evidence in the central Cascadia margin, USA, Oregon Geology, 59, p. 51-74
  26. Audemard, F.A.; de Santis, F., 1991, Survey of liquefaction structures induced by recent moderate earthquakes, Bulletin of the International Association of Engineering Geology, 44, p. 5-16
  27. Ettensohn, F.R.; Rast, N.; Brett, C.E. (editors), Ancient Seismites, GSA Special Paper, 359
  28. Kevin G. Stewart, 2003, Paleoseismology
  29. Seilacher, A., 1969, Fault-graded beds interpreted as seismites, Sedimentology, 13, p. 15-159
  30. Mills, P.C., 1983, Genesis and diagnostic value of soft-sediment deformation structures – a review, Sedimentary Geology, 35, p. 83-104
  31. Groshong, R.H., 1988, Low-temperature deformation mechanism and their interpretation, GSA Bulletin, 100, p. 1329-1360
  32. Allen, C.R., 1975, Geological criteria for evaluating seismicity, GSA Bulletin, 86, p. 1041-1057
  33. Guiraud and Plaziet, 1993
  34. Obermeier, S.F., 1996b, Use of liquefaction-induced features for paleoseismic analysis – an overview of how seismic liquefaction features can be distinguished from other features and how their regional distribution and properties of source sediment can be used to infer the location and strength of Holocene paleo-earthquakes, Engineering Geology, 44, p. 1-46
  35. Greb, S.F.; Ettensohn, F.R.; Obermeier, S.F., 2002, Developing a classification scheme for seismites, GSA North-central & Southeastern Section Annual Meeting Abstracts with Programs
  36. Wheeler, R.L., 2002, Distinguishing seismic from nonseismic soft-sediment structures: Criteria from seismic-hazard analysis, in Ettensohn, F.R.; Rast, N.; Brett, C.E. (editors), Ancient Seismites, GSA Special Paper, 359, p. 1-11
  37. Obermeier, S.F.; Olson, S.M.; Green, R.A., 2005, Field occurrences of liquefaction-induced features: a primer for engineering geologic analysis of paleoseismic shaking, Engineering Geology, 76, p. 209-234
  38. Montenat, C.; Barrier, P.; d'Estevou, P.O.; Hibsch, C., 2007, Seismites: An attempt at critical analysis and classification, Sedimentary Geology, 196, p. 5-30
  39. Levi, T.; Weinberger, R.; Eyal, Y., in press 2010, A coupled fluid-fracture approach to propagation of clastic dikes during earthquakes, Tectonophysics
  40. Mashchak, M.S.; Ezersky, V.A., 1980, Clastic dikes of the Kara Crater Pai Khoi, Lunar and Planetary Sciences, 11, p. 680-682
  41. Mashchak, M.S.; Ezersky, V.A., 1982, Clastic dikes in the impactites and allogenic breccias of the Kara astrobleme (northeast slope of the Pai-Khoi Range) (article in Russian), Lithology and Economic Minerals, 1, p. 130-136
  42. Sturkell, E.F.F.; Ormo, J., 1997, Impact-related clastic injections in the marine Ordovician Lockne impact structure, central Sweden, Sedimentology, 44, p. 793-804
  43. Huntoon, P.W., 2000, Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands, Utah: Strain indicators that reveal an impact origin, in Sprinkel, D.A.; Chidsey, T.C.; Anderson, P.B. (editors), Geology of Utah's Parks and Monuments, Utah Geological Association Publication, 28, p. 1-10, revised 2002:
  44. Kenkmann, T., 2003, Dike formation, cataclastic flow, and rock fluidization during impact cratering: an example from the Upheaval Dome structure, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 214, p. 43-58
  45. Huntoon, P.W.; Shoemaker, E.M., 1995, Roberts Rift, Canyonlands, Utah, A natural hydraulic fracture caused by comet or asteroid, Ground Water, 33, p. 561-569
  46. Wittmann, A.; Kenkamnn, T.; Schmitt, R.T.; Hecht, L.; Stöffler, D., 2004, Impact-related dike breccia lithologies in the ICDP drill core Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico, Meteorics & Planetary Science, 39, p. 931-954
  47. Hudgins, J.A.; Spray, J.G., 2006, Lunar impact-fluidized dikes: Evidence from Apollo 17 Station 7, Taurus-Littrow Valley, Lunar and Planetary Science, 37, p. 1176
  48. Marco, S.; Weinberger, R.; Agnon, A., 2002, Radial clastic dykes formed by a salt diapir in the Dead Sea Rift, Israel, Terra Nova, 14, p. 288-294
  49. Levi et al., 2006, Earthquake-induced clastic dikes detected by anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility, Geology, 34, p. 69–72
  50. Kruger, F.C., 1938, A clastic dike of glacial origin, American Journal of Science, 5, p. 305-307
  51. Goldthwait, J.W.; Goldthwait, L.; Goldthwait, R.P., 1951, Geology of New Hampshire, Part 1: Surficial Geology, New Hampshire State Planning and Development Commission, 44 pgs.
  52. Amark, M., 1986, Clastic dikes formed beneath an active glacier, Geologiska Föreningen i Stockholm Förhandlingar, 108, p. 13–20
  53. Dreimanis, A., 1992, Downward injected till wedges and upward injected till dikes, Sveriges Geologiska Undersökning, 4, p. 91-96
  54. Larsen, E.; Mangerud, J., 1992, Subglacially formed clastic dikes, Sveriges Geologisha Undersdhning, 81, p. 163-170
  55. Boulton, G.S.; Caban, P., 1995, Groundwater flow beneath ice sheets: Part II — Its impact on glacier tectonic structures and moraine formation, Quaternary Science Reviews, 14, p. 563-587
  56. Dreimanis, A,; Rappol, M., 1997, Late Wisconsinan sub-glacial clastic intrusive sheets along the Lake Erie bluffs, at Bradtville, Ontario, Canada, Sedimentary Geology, 111, p. 225-248
  57. Wicander, R.; Wood, G.D.; Dreimanis, A.; Rappol, M., 1997, Late Wisconsin sub-glacial intrusive sheets along Lake Eerie bluffs, at Bradtville, Ontario, Canada, Sedimentary Geology, 111, p. 225-248
  58. Van Der Meer, J.J.M.; Kjaer, K.H.; Kruger, J., 1999, Subglacial water-escape structures and till structures, Slettjokull, Iceland, Journal of Quaternary Research, 14, p. 191-205
  59. Rijsdijk, K.F.; Owen, G.; Warren, W.P.; McCarroll, D.; van der Meer, J.J.M., 1999, Clastic dykes in over-consolidated tills: Evidence for subglacial hydrofracturing at Killiney Bay, eastern Ireland, Sedimentary Geology, 129, p. 111-126
  60. Le Heron, D.P.; Etienne, J.L., 2005, A complex subglacial clastic dyke swarm, Solheimajokull, southern Iceland, Sedimentary Geology, 181, p. 25-37
  61. Gozdzik, J.; Van Loon, A.J., 2007, The origin of a giant downward directed clastic dyke in a kame (Belchatow mine, central Poland), Sedimentary Geology, 193, p. 71-79
  62. Crossen, K., 2009, Is till the only evidence of ice advance? What 15 year of post-surge retreat have revealed beneath Bering Glacier, Alaska, GSA Abstracts with Programs, Abstract #247-8
  63. Van Der Meer, J.J.M.; Kruger, J.; Rabassa, J.; Kilfeather, A.A., 2009, Under pressure: Clastic dykes in glacial settings, Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, p. 708-720
  64. Cross, W., 1894, Intrusive sandstone dikes in granite, GSA Bulletin, 5, p. 225-230
  65. Birman, J.H., 1952, Pleistocene clastic dikes in weathered granite-gneiss, Rhode Island, American Journal of Science, 250, p. 721-734
  66. Vitanage, P.W., 1954, Sandstone dikes in the South Platte Area, Colorado, Journal of Geology, 62, p. 493-500
  67. Harms, J.C., 1965, Sandstone dikes in relation to Laramide faults and stress distribution in the southern Front Range, Colorado, GSA Bulletin, 76
  68. Niell, A.W.; Leckey, E.H.; Pogue, K.R., 1997, Pleistocene dikes in Tertiary rocks – downward emplacement of Touchet Bed clastic dikes into co-seismic features, south-central Washington, GSA Abstracts with Programs, 29, p. 55
  69. Beacom, L.E.; Anderson, T.B.; Holdsworth, R.E., 1999, Using basement-hosted clastic dykes as syn-rift palaeostress indicators; an example from the basal Stoer Group, northwest Scotland, Geological Magazine, 136, p. 301-310
  70. Haluszczak, A., 2007, Dike-filled extensional structures in Cenozoic deposits of the Kleszczow Graben (Central Poland), Sedimentary Geology, 193, p. 81-92
  71. Monroe, J.N., 1950, Origin of the clastic dikes in the Rockwall area, Texas, Field & Laboratory, 18
  72. Chown and Gobeil, 1990, Clastic dykes of the Chibougamau Formation: distribution and origin, Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v.27, p. 1111-1114
  73. Siddoway, C.S.; Gehrels, G.E., 2014, Basement-hosted sandstone injectites of Colorado: A vestige of the Neoproterozoic revealed through detrital zircon provenance analysis, Lithosphere, 6, p. 403-408
  74. Dalrymple, R.W., 1979, Wave-induced liquefaction: A modern example from the Bay of Fundy, Sedimentology, 26, p. 835-844
  75. Alfaro, P.; Soria, M., 1998, Soft-sediment deformation structures induced by cyclic stress of storm waves in tempestites (Miocene, Guadalquivir Basin, Spain), Terra Nova, 10, p. 145-150
  76. Martel, A.T.; Gibling, M.R., 1993, Clastic dykes of the Devono-Carboniferous Horton Bluff Fm, Nova Scotia: Storm-related structures in shallow lakes, Sedimentary Geology, 87, p. 103-119
  77. Olson, S.M., 2007, Downward penetrating clastic dikes as indicators of tsunamis? GSA Southeastern Section Abstracts with Programs, 39, p. 25 (#14-5)
  78. Lupher, R.L., 1944, Clastic dikes of the Columbia Basin Region, Washington and Idaho, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 55, p. 1431-1462
  79. Othberg et al., 2003
  80. Garwood and Bush, 2005
  81. Webster et al., 1982, Late Cenozoic gravels in Hells Canyon and the Lewiston Basin, WA and OR, in Bonnichsen and Breckenridge (editors), Cenozoic Geology of Idaho, Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 26
  82. Spencer, P.K.; Jaffee, M.A., 2002, Pre-late Wisconsinan glacial outburst floods in southeastern Washington: The indirect record, Washington Geology, 30, p. 9-16
  83. Cooley, S.W.; Pidduck, B.K.; Pogue, K.R., 1995, Mechanism and timing of emplacement of clastic dikes in the Touchet Beds of the Walla Walla Valley, Geological Society of America Cordilleran Section Abstracts with Programs, 28, p. 57
  84. Cooley, S.W., 1996, Timing and emplacement of clastic dikes..., BA Thesis, Whitman College
  85. Pogue, K.R., 1998, Earthquake-generated(?) structures in Missoula flood slackwater sediments (Touchet Beds) of southeastern Washington, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 30, p. A398
  86. Medley, E., 2012, Ancient cataclysmic floods in the Pacific Northwest: Ancestors to the Missoula Floods, MS Thesis, Portland State University, 174 pgs.
  87. Campbell, N.P., 1977, Geology of the Snipes Mountain area, Yakima County, Washington, Washington State Division of Geology & Earth Resources Open File Report, 77-8, 3 maps, 1:24,000 scale
  88. Smith, G.A.; Bjornstad, B.N.; Fecht, K.R., 1989, Neogene terrestrial sedimentation on and adjacent to the Columbia Plateau; Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, in Reidel, S.P.; Hooper, P.R. (editors), GSA Special Paper, 239, p. 187-198
  89. Reidel et al., 1994
  90. Brown, D.J.; Brown, R.E., 1962, Touchet clastic dikes in the Ringold Fm, Hanford Operations Report, HW-SA-2851, p. 1-11
  91. Mabry, J.J., 2000, Field Trip Guidebook to the Natural History of Kittitas County, Central Washington University, 74 pgs.
  92. Williams, M., 1991, Stratigraphic column of Craig's Hill, unpublished illustration, Central Washington University
  93. Cooley, S.W.; Pidduck, B.K.; Pogue, K.R., 1995, Mechanism and timing of emplacement of clastic dikes in the Touchet Beds of the Walla Walla Valley, Geological Society of America Cordilleran Section Abstracts with Programs, 28, p. 57
  94. Cooley, S.W., 1996, Timing and emplacement of clastic dikes..., BA Thesis, Whitman College
  95. Pogue, K.R., 1998, Earthquake-generated(?) structures in Missoula flood slackwater sediments (Touchet Beds) of southeastern Washington, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 30, p. A398
  96. Fecht, K.R.; Bjornstad, B.N.; Horton, D.G.; Last, G.V.; Reidel, S.P. Lindsey, K.A., 1998, Clastic injection dikes of the Pasco Basin and vicinity, Bechtel Hanford Inc Report, BHI-01-01103
  97. Jenkins, O.P., 1925, Clastic dikes of Eastern Washington and their geologic significance, American Journal of Science, 5th series, v. X, No. 57, p. 234-246
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.