Holocene climate and glacial history of the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula: the marine sedimentary record from a long SHALDRIL core

Michalchuk, Bradley R., Anderson, John B., Wellner, Julia S., Manley, Patricia L., Majewski, Wojciech and Bohaty, Steve (2009) Holocene climate and glacial history of the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula: the marine sedimentary record from a long SHALDRIL core Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, (27-28), pp. 3049-3065. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.08.012).


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A high-resolution record of Holocene deglacial and climate history was obtained from a 77 m sediment core from the Firth of Tay, Antarctic Peninsula, as part of the SHALDRIL initiative. This study provides a detailed sedimentological record of Holocene paleoclimate and glacial advance and retreat from the eastern side of the peninsula. A robust chronostratigraphy was derived from thirty-three radiocarbon dates on carbonate material. This chronostratigraphic framework was used to establish the timing of glacial and climate events derived from multiple proxies including: magnetic susceptibility, electric resistivity, porosity, ice-rafted debris content, organic carbon content, nitrogen content, biogenic silica content, and diatom and foraminiferal assemblages. The core bottomed-out in a stiff diamicton interpreted as till. Gravelly and sandy mud above the till is interpreted as proximal glaciomarine sediment that represents decoupling of the glacier from the seafloor circa 9400 cal. yr BP and its subsequent landward retreat. This was approximately 5000 yr later than in the Bransfield Basin and South Shetland Islands, on the western side of the peninsula. The Firth of Tay core site remained in a proximal glaciomarine setting until 8300 cal. yr BP, at which time significant glacial retreat took place. Deposition of diatomaceous glaciomarine sediments after 8300 cal. yr BP indicates that an ice shelf has not existed in the area since this time.

The onset of seasonally open marine conditions between 7800 and 6000 cal. yr BP followed the deglacial period and is interpreted as the mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum. Open marine conditions lasted until present, with a minor cooling having occurred between 6000 and 4500 cal. yr BP and a period of minor glacial retreat and/or decreased sea ice coverage between 4500 and 3500 cal. yr BP. Finally, climatic cooling and variable sea ice cover occurred from 3500 cal. yr BP to near present and it is interpreted as being part of the Neoglacial. The onset of the Neoglacial appears to have occurred earlier in the Firth of Tay than on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were not pronounced in the Firth of Tay. The breadth and synchroneity of the rapid regional warming and glacial retreat observed in the Antarctic Peninsula during the last century appear to be unprecedented during the Holocene epoch.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.08.012
ISSNs: 0277-3791 (print)
ePrint ID: 152431
Date :
Date Event
December 2009Published
Date Deposited: 14 May 2010 10:38
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 04:19
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/152431

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