Holocene Palaeoenvironmental and Palaeoproductivity Changes in the Western Amundsen Sea Embayment of Antarctica

The Amundsen Polynya (AP) on the inner and middle continental shelf of the western Amundsen Sea Embayment is the fourth largest coastal polynya around Antarctica. The AP is highly productive when it opens in austral summer, with ∼20 times greater organic carbon accumulation rates over the last few thousand years compared to those at nearby shelf sites with more persistent seasonal sea-ice cover. We examined sedimentary records at a site from the AP and another site from the outer shelf to investigate temporal variations in the depositional environment with a special focus on the timing of the AP opening since the deglaciation following the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ca. 23–19 cal. ka BP). In the AP region, sedimentological and biogeochemical proxy data reveal a transition from a sub-glacial to a sub-ice shelf and then seasonally open marine conditions comparable to those at present. Total organic carbon contents and diatom valve abundances during the seasonally open marine period imply that the polynya environments was reached at ca. 9.2 cal. ka BP. Since the post-LGM deglaciation, diatom productivity and assemblages in the AP region appear to have varied in association with the variation in the physical environment. Compared to the AP site, only small amounts of organic carbon accumulated on the outer shelf. Differences in the depositional environments and productivity modes between the inner and outer shelf sites have persisted since ca. 10.5 cal. ka BP.


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Authors: Kim, Minkyoung, Lee, Jae Il, Bak, Young-Suk, Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter ORCIDORCID record for Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand, Yan, Eun Jin, Montluçon, Daniel B., Haghipour, Negar, Eglinton, Timothy I., Hwang, Jeomshik

On this site: Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand
1 June, 2023
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans / 128
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