Oceanographic and climatic consequences of the tectonic evolution of the southern scotia sea basins, Antarctica
The Scotia Sea is a complex geological area located in the Southern Ocean which evolution is closely linked to the opening of the Drake Passage. Structural highs of continental nature derived from the former continental bridge between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula surround the abyssal plains of the Scotia Sea, restricting small isolated sedimentary basins along its southern margin. Morpho-structural and seismo-stratigraphic analyses of multichannel seismic reflection profiles, and additional geophysical data available in the region, have been conducted, decoding regional and global implications of the basins' evolution. The main aim of this work is to describe the stratigraphic evolution of the southern Scotia Sea basins, from their opening in the back-arc tectonic context of the Scotia Sea, to the last oceanographic changes which have carried on global climatic implications. The evolution of the south Scotia Sea occurred through two major tectonic stages registered in the sedimentary record of the region: 1) the end of the subduction in the northwest part of the Weddell Sea during the early Miocene, which shortened the back-arc subduction trench generating a major change in the regional tectonic field that determined the evolution of the southern basins towards two different types of passive margins: magma-poor and magma-rich; and 2) the full development of the southern Scotia Sea basins during the middle Miocene, that led to the opening of deep oceanic gateways along the South Scotia Ridge. Interplay among tectonics, oceanography and climate is proposed to control the regional sedimentary stacking pattern, with coeval changes globally identified.