Stratigraphic drilling from the McMurdo Ice Shelf in the 2006/2007 austral summer recovered a 1284.87 m sedimentary succession from beneath the sea floor. Key age data for the core include magnetic polarity stratigraphy for the entire succession, diatom biostratigraphy for the upper 600 m and 40Ar/39Ar ages for in-situ volcanic deposits as well as reworked volcanic clasts. A vertical seismic profile for the drill hole allows correlation between the drill hole and a regional seismic network and inference of age constraint by correlation with well‐dated regional volcanic events through direct recognition of interlayered volcanic deposits as well as by inference from flexural loading of pre‐existing strata. The combined age model implies relatively rapid (1 m/2–5 ky) accumulation of sediment punctuated by hiatuses, which account for approximately 50% of the record. Three of the longer hiatuses coincide with basin‐wide seismic reflectors and, along with two thick volcanic intervals, they subdivide the succession into seven chronostratigraphic intervals with characteristic facies: 1. The base of the cored succession (1275–1220 mbsf) comprises middle Miocene volcaniclastic sandstone dated at approx 13.5 Ma by several reworked volcanic clasts; 2. A late-Miocene sub-polar orbitally controlled glacial–interglacial succession (1220–760 mbsf) bounded by two unconformities correlated with basin‐wide reflectors associated with early development of the terror rift; 3. A late Miocene volcanigenic succession (760–596 mbsf) terminating with a ~1 my hiatus at 596.35 mbsf which spans the Miocene–Pliocene boundary and is not recognised in regional seismic data; 4. An early Pliocene obliquity-controlled alternating diamictite and diatomite glacial–interglacial succession (590–440 mbsf), separated from; 5. A late Pliocene obliquity-controlled alternating diamictite and diatomite glacial–interglacial succession (440–150 mbsf) by a 750 ky unconformity interpreted to represent a major sequence boundary at other locations; 6. An early Pleistocene interbedded volcanic, diamictite and diatomite succession (150–80 mbsf), and; 7. A late Pleistocene glacigene succession (80–0 mbsf) comprising diamictite dominated sedimentary cycles deposited in a polar environment.
AWI Organizations > Geosciences > Marine Geology and Paleontology
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