First High-Resolution Record of Late Quaternary Environmental Changes in the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica, Revealed by Multi-proxy Analysis of Drift Sediments


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gerhard.kuhn [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is experiencing rapid mass loss and there is a pressing need to place the contemporary ice-sheet changes into a longer term context. The continental rise in this region is characterised by large sediment mounds that are shaped by westward flowing bottom currents and that resemble contouritic drifts existing offshore from the Antarctic Peninsula. Similar to the Antarctic Peninsula drifts, marine sediment cores from the poorly studied sediment mounds in the Amundsen Sea have the potential to provide reliable records of dynamical ice-sheet behaviour in West Antarctica and palaeoceanographic changes in the Southern Ocean during the Late Quaternary that can be reconstructed from their terrestrial, biogenic and authigenic components. Here we use multi-proxy data from three sediment cores recovered from two of the Amundsen Sea mounds to present the first high-resolution study of environmental changes on this part of the West Antarctic continental margin over the glacial-interglacial cycles of the Late Quaternary. Age constraints for the records are derived from biostratigraphy, AMS 14C dates and lithostratigraphy. We focus on the investigation of processes for drift formation, thereby using grain size and sortable silt data to reconstruct changes in bottom current speed and to identify episodes of current winnowing. Data on geochemical and mineralogical sediment composition and physical properties are used to infer both changes in terrigenous sediment supply in response to the advance and retreat of the WAIS across the Amundsen Sea shelf and changes in biological productivity that are mainly controlled by the duration of annual sea-ice coverage. We compare our data sets from the Amundsen Sea mounds to those from the well-studied Antarctic Peninsula drifts, thereby highlighting similarities and discrepancies in depositional processes and climatically-driven environmental changes.



Item Type
Conference (Poster)
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Primary Division
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Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Event Details
American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2015,, 14 Dec 2015 - 18 Dec 2015, San Francisco.
Eprint ID
46203
Cite as
Horrocks, J. , Cofaigh, C. Ó. , Lloyd, J. M. , Hillenbrand, C. D. , Kuhn, G. , Smith, J. A. , Ehrmann, W. U. and Esper, O. (2015): First High-Resolution Record of Late Quaternary Environmental Changes in the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica, Revealed by Multi-proxy Analysis of Drift Sediments , American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2015,, San Francisco, 14 December 2015 - 18 December 2015 .


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