Searching for the most detailed, continuous, late Miocene to Quaternary records of Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics

Karsten.Gohl [ at ]


Changes observed in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet (APIS) over recent decades include thinning and break up of ice shelves, glacier flow acceleration and grounding line retreat. How rapidly and how far these ice sheets will retreat in a warmer climate, however, remains uncertain. For example, it remains unclear whether or not the marine-based WAIS “collapsed” during Quaternary interglacial periods, including the last one, contributing more than 3 m to global sea-level rise. Continuous long-term records of ice sheet change with precise chronology are needed in order to answer these questions. On the Antarctic continental shelf, sedimentary records are interrupted by numerous unconformities resulting from glacial erosion, good core recovery has only been achieved from platforms sited on sea ice or ice shelves, and establishing reliable chronologies has proved challenging. In contrast, sediment drifts on the upper continental rise around Antarctica contain expanded, continuous successions dominated by muddy lithologies from which good recovery can be achieved using standard scientific ocean drilling methods. Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 178 demonstrated that sediment drifts west of the Antarctic Peninsula contain a rich high-resolution archive of Southern Ocean paleoceanography and APIS history that extends back to at least the late Miocene. The potential of existing ODP cores from the drifts is, however, compromised by incomplete composite sections and lack of precise chronological control. An International Ocean Discovery Program proposal (732-Full2) for future drilling on these drifts has been scientifically approved and is with the JOIDES Resolution Facilities Board for scheduling. The main aims of the proposal are to obtain continuous, high-resolution records from sites on sediment drifts off both the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica (southern Bellingshausen Sea). The challenges will then be achieving good chronological control using a range of established and novel techniques and interpreting what facies variations indicate in terms of changes in the ice sheets. During a 2015 research cruise on RRS James Clark Ross (JR298) we obtained additional site survey data around the proposed sites including high-resolution multichannel seismic reflection data, piston cores and box cores. We will present results from this cruise and interpret them in terms of sedimentary processes that operated during the development of the drifts, and links between depositional systems on the continental rise, paleoice-sheet dynamics and paleoceanographic processes.

Item Type
Conference (Talk)
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Publication Status
Event Details
SCAR Open Science Conference, 10 Aug 2016 - 20 Aug 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Eprint ID
Cite as
Larter, R. D. , Hillenbrand, C. D. , Graham, A. G. C. , Channell, J. E. T. , Hernández-Molina, F. J. , Hodell, D. A. , Hogan, K. , Xuan, C. , Gohl, K. , Rebesco, M. , Uenzelmann-Neben, G. , Crowhurst, S. and Williams, M. (2016): Searching for the most detailed, continuous, late Miocene to Quaternary records of Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics , SCAR Open Science Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 10 August 2016 - 20 August 2016 .

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email

Geographical region

Research Platforms

ANT > XI > 3
ANT > XVIII > 5a

Edit Item Edit Item