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Late Quaternary environmental and climate history of Rauer Group, East Antarctica

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Author: Berg, S. · Wagner, B. · Cremer, H. · Leng, M.J. · Melles, M.
Type:article
Date:2010
Institution: TNO Bouw en Ondergrond
Source:Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 1, 297, 201-213
Identifier: 409798
Keywords: Geosciences · East Antarctica · Holocene · Marine sediments · Rauer Group · Holocene · ice sheet · marine sediment · paleoclimate · paleoenvironment · Pleistocene · sea ice · shallow water · Antarctica · East Antarctica · Prydz Bay · Rauer Islands · Earth & Environment · GM - Geomodelling · EELS - Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences

Abstract

The Rauer Group is an archipelago in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica. The ice-free islands and the surrounding shallow marine areas provide valuable archives for the reconstruction of the late Pleistocene and Holocene environmental and climatic history of the region. Two sediment records from two marine inlets of Rauer Group have been studied for their sedimentological, geochemical, and biological characteristics. Radiocarbon ages from one of the inlets indicate ice-free conditions within the last glacial cycle, probably during the second half of Marine Isotope Stage 3. Subsequent ice sheet coverage of Rauer Group during the Last Glacial Maxiumum (LGM) can be inferred from a till layer recovered in one of the basins. The inlets became ice-free prior to 11,200. cal yr BP, when biogenic sedimentation started. Deglacial processes in the catchments, however, influenced the inlets until ~. 9200. cal yr BP as evidenced by the input of minerogenic material. Marine productivity under relatively open water conditions indicates an early Holocene climate optimum until 8200. cal yr BP, which is followed by a cooler period with increased sea ice. Warmer conditions are inferred for the mid Holocene, when both basins experienced an input of freshwater between ~. 5700-3500. cal yr BP, probably due to ice-sheet melting and increased precipitation on the islands. Neoglacial cooling in the late Holocene since c. 3500. cal yr BP is reflected by an increase in sea ice in both inlets. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.