Ice sheet histories and palaeocenographic interpretations based on sediment cores from high southerly latitudes have been stymied by imprecise chronological control, due in large part to lack of foraminiferal carbonate for isotopic analyses. The chronological problem can now be partially offset by using relative geomagnetic palaeointensity records. Previous coring on ODP Leg 178 demonstrated that sediment drifts off the Antarctic Peninsula carry a continuous, high-resolution Miocene to Recent archive of palaeoceanographic conditions and history of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet. However, the potential of existing ODP cores is compromised by two factors: (1) incomplete composite sections and (2) lack of precise chronological control.We propose to drill a series of new sites on these sediment drifts, and on ones further to the southwest that contain records of West Antarctic Ice Sheet fluctuations. Six proposed sites target expanded Pliocene-Quaternary sequences, with two sites targeting the pre-Pliocene record at locations characterized by relatively thin younger sequences.There are few targets in the circum-Antarctic region that rival the potential offered by these sediment drifts. Recovery of these sediment cores and integration of data from them with polar ice cores will contribute significantly to our understanding of the role of West Antarctica and the adjacent Southern Ocean in global atmospheric and oceanographic processes.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 3: Lessons from the Past > WP 3.1: Past Polar Climate and inter-hemispheric Coupling
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 3: Lessons from the Past > WP 3.2: Tectonic, Climate and Biosphere Development from Greenhouse to Icehouse