Amundsen Sea, Southern Pacific: Distribution of sedimentary sequences as an archive of palaeoclimate and palaeooceanography

Gabriele.Uenzelmann-Neben [ at ]


The distribution and internal architecture of seismostratigraphic sequences observed on the Antarctic continental slope and rise are results of sediment transport and deposition by bottom currents and ice sheets. Analysis of seismic reflection data allows to reconstruct sediment input and transport patterns and to infer past changes in climate and oceanography. We observe four seismostratigraphic units which show distinct differences in location and shape of their depocentres. We used an age-depth model based on DSDP Leg 35 Site 324 for the Plio/Pleistocene and a correlation with seismic reflection characteristics from the Ross and Bellingshausen Seas, which unfortunately has large uncertainties. For the period before 21 Ma, we interpret low energy input of detritus via a river estuary originating in an area of the Amundsen Sea shelf, where a palaeo-ice stream trough (Pine Island Trough East PITE) is located today, and deposition of this material on the continental rise under sea ice coverage. For 21-14.1 Ma we postulate intense glacial erosion for the hinterland of this part of West Antarctica, which resulted in a larger depocentre and an increase in mass transport deposits. Warming during the Mid Miocene Climatic Optimum led to a wet-based ice sheet and a higher sediment supply along a broad front but with a focus via two palaeo-ice stream troughs. Most of the glaciogenic debris was transported onto the eastern Amundsen Sea rise where it was shaped into levee-drifts by a re-circulating bottom current. A reduced sediment accumulation in the deep-sea subsequent to the onset of climatic cooling after 14 Ma indicates a reduced sediment supply probably in response to a colder and drier ice sheet. A dynamic ice sheet since 4 Ma delivered material offshore mainly via AT and Pine Island Trough West. Interaction of this glaciogenic detritus with a west-setting bottom current resulted in the continued formation of levee-drifts in the eastern and central Amundsen Sea.

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Event Details
11th International Conference on Paleoceanography, 01 Sep 2013 - 06 Sep 2013, Sitges, Barcelona, Spain.
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Cite as
Uenzelmann-Neben, G. and Gohl, K. (2013): Amundsen Sea, Southern Pacific: Distribution of sedimentary sequences as an archive of palaeoclimate and palaeooceanography , 11th International Conference on Paleoceanography, Sitges, Barcelona, Spain, 1 September 2013 - 6 September 2013 .


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