Late Quaternary sediment facies in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica and their relationship to glacial advance onto the continental shelf
A marine survey in Prydz Bay, provides an unparalleled view of glacigenic and marine sedimentation across Prydz Channel and Amery Depression during the Late Quaternary. Gravity cores and a suite of eight radiocarbon dates indicate that the Late Wisconsin Glacial Maximum (LGM) was associated with grounding of a palaeo-ice shelf along the periphery of Prydz Channel. Deposition in front of the grounding line was dominated by ice-rafting. A granulated facies, containing angular clay and diamicton clasts, was producd by a combination of regelation freezing, near to the grounding line, and remelting of this basal debris in the sub-ice shelf setting. Beneath these LGM marine deposits lie two key beds of diatom ooze that are distinct in size sorting and Pliocene diatoms. These “interstadial” units can be traced across most of the Prydz Channel, and are underlain by additional glacial marine units. Debris related to the Lambert Deep is distinct from detritus from eastern Prydz Bay and deposition of these two sources within the channel oscillated during the LGM. We suggest that coastal drainage systems contributed to a limited glaciation of the shelf during the LGM, rather than direct outflow via the Lambert/Amery system. It is proposed that shelf-wide glaciation is related to the duration of glacial sea level lowstands rather than the absolute magnitude of eustatic fall during such episodes.(Received January 7 1998)
(Accepted June 4 1998)
Key Words: diatoms; glacial marine; Late Quaternary; Prydz Bay; radiocarbon.