Late Pleistocene and Holocene glacial history of James Ross Island, Antarctic Peninsula
Studies of Quaternary glacial stratigraphy and morphology around the Antarctic Peninsula have shown that James Ross Island in the western Weddell Sea probably has the best occurrences of stratigraphic sections with dateable material in the region. The stratigraphy includes sections with indefinite radiocarbon age, and three separate aminozones can be recognized. Except for indications of an early deglaciation around c. 10,000 BP, the field evidence from northern James Ross Island suggests a glacial readvance around 7000 BP. It is concluded that the readvance reflects the combined effects of eustatic sea level rise and Holocene warming, leading to increased precipitation and a positive mass balance. The most recent large-scale deglaciation in the area took place around 6000–5000 BP. This confirms the evidence from lake sediments and moss banks in other parts of the Antarctic Peninsula region, which shows that, in most cases, the initiation of organic deposition took place after c. 6000 BP. The literature on the Holocene glacial and environmental history of the region is reviewed in light of the new field evidence.