The depositional pattern and distribution of glacial-interglacial sequences on the Antarctic Peninsula Pacific margin

The outer shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula Pacific margin south of 63°30′S is underlain by Pliocene-Pleistocene prograding sequences which have been produced mainly by the action of ice sheets grounded out to the shelf edge at times of glacial maximum. Most sediment in these sequences has probably been transported to the margin in a deforming basal till, which implies deposition on a broad front: a “line source”. A representative prograding sequence mapped across an extensive network of multichannel seismic reflection lines has an elongate depocentre on the upper palaeoslope, which is consistent with the grounded ice sheet model. However, it is likely that each sequence recognized on existing multichannel seismic data represents several ice advances. Depth-to-surface maps reveal a broad variation along the margin in the amount of progradation, reflecting differences in sediment supply. The pattern of progradation and the bathymetry of the outer shelf suggest that the main depocentre in the area studied was fed by an ice stream at times of glacial maximum. Seismic lines across the margin farther to the southwest indicate the existence of other depocentres. Several broad depositional lobes have probably coalesced to form the extensive outer shelf. The present continental slope is smooth and steep, and is not cut by major canyons. A downslope change in seismic facies and scouring on the uppermost rise probably reflect downslope transitions from slumps to debris flows to turbidity currents. These processes are likely to be most active at times of glacial maximum. Deep drilling data indicate that the rise sediments consist mainly of terrigenous turbidite and ice-rafted detritus. A marked upward change in seismic facies on the continental rise indicates a change to a higher energy sedimentary regime and appears to correlate with the start of glacial progradation on the shelf.


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Authors: Larter, Robert D. ORCIDORCID record for Robert D. Larter, Cunningham, Alex P.

On this site: Robert Larter
1 January, 1993
Marine Geology / 109
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