Diamictite (pronunciation: //; from Greek δια (dia-): through and µεικτός (meiktós): mixed) is a type of lithified sedimentary rock that consists of nonsorted to poorly sorted terrigenous sediment containing particles that range in size from clay to boulders, suspended in a matrix of mudstone or sandstone. The term was coined by Flint and others as a purely descriptive term, devoid of any reference to a particular origin. Some geologists restrict the usage to nonsorted or poorly sorted conglomerate or breccia that consists of sparse, terrigenous gravel suspended in either a mud or sand matrix.
Unlithified diamictite is referred to as diamicton.
The term diamictite is often applied to nonsorted or poorly sorted, lithified glacial deposits such as glacial tillite, and diamictites are often mistakenly interpreted as having an essentially glacial origin (see Snowball Earth). The most common origin for diamictites, however, is deposition by submarine mass flows like turbidites and olistostromes in tectonically active areas, and they can be produced in a wide range of other geological conditions. Possible origins include:
- glacial origin
- volcanic origin
- lahar mass flows entering the ocean
- marine origin
- tectonic origin
- erosional origin
- extraterrestrial origin
- Flint, R.F., J.E. Sanders, and J. Rodgers (1960) Diamictite, a substitute term for symmictite Geological Society of America Bulletin. 71(12):1809–1810.
- Tucker, M.E. (2003) Sedimentary Rocks in the Field John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., New York, New York. 244 pp. ISBN 978-0-470-85123-4
- Eyles, N.; Januszczak, N. (2004). "’Zipper-rift’: A tectonic model for Neoproterozoic glaciations during the breakup of Rodinia after 750 Ma". Earth-Science Reviews 65 (1-2): 1-73. (pdf 4 Mb)
- Huber, H., Koeberl, C., McDonald, I., Reimold, W.U.: Geochemistry and petrology of Witwatersrand and Dwyka diamictites from South Africa: Search for an extraterrestrial component. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 65, No. 12, pp. 2007–2016, 2001. (pdf 470 Kb)
- Deynoux, M., et al. (Editors) (2004) Earth's Glacial Record, Cambridge University Press, pp. 34–39 ISBN 0-521-54803-9