Late Quaternary palaeoenvironments in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica: interpretations from marine diatoms
Fossil diatom-bearing marine sediment cores recovered from Prydz Channel, Prydz Bay, record episodes of glacial advance and retreat in the bay. Diatom frustules are abundant, well preserved, and the species composition is diverse in two biogenic sediment units composed of siliceous diatom ooze (SMO-1 and SMO-2). Between SMO-1 and SMO-2 a terrigenous unit (T) is present, composed of muddy diamicton and sandy silty clay, which contains poorly preserved rare diatoms. The SMO units are interpreted to represent an open marine setting with seasonal sea ice cover; the T unit is interpreted to represent glacial ice expansion from the Amery Ice Shelf over the site. Based on an age model developed previously for other cores from Prydz Channel with analogous stratigraphies, we interpret our record to be late Quaternary through Holocene in age. The T unit records the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in Prydz Bay; the SMO-1 and SMO-2 units record interstadial episodes that are post- and pre-LGM respectively. Extinct diatom taxa in the T and SMO-2 units indicate reworked sediment sourced from two different-aged deposits. Our results provide both a new interpretation of late Quaternary deposition in Prydz Channel and support for previous studies in this region.(Received August 8 2002)
(Accepted July 7 2003)
Key Words: Antarctica diatoms; Holocene; Last Glacial Maximum; Pleistocene.
p1 Current address: Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252-77, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia, Fiona.Taylor@utas.edu.au