One of the major issues in (palaeo-) climatology is the response of Antarctic ice sheets to global climate changes. Antarctic ice volume has varied in the past but the extent and timing of these fluctuations are not well known. In this study, we address the question of amplitude and timing of past Antarctic ice level changes by surface exposure dating using in situ produced cosmogenic nuclides (10Be and 21Ne). The study area lies in the Ricker Hills, a nunatak at the boundary of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in southern Victoria Land. By determining exposure ages of erratic boulders from glacial drifts we directly date East Antarctic Ice Sheet variations. Erosion-corrected neon and beryllium exposure ages indicate that a major ice advance reaching elevations of about 500 m above present ice levels occurred between 1.125 and 1.375 million years before present. Subsequent ice fluctuations were of lesser extent but timing is difficult as all erratic boulders from related deposits show complex exposure histories. Sample-specific erosion rates were on the order of 20–45 cm Ma-1 for a quartzite and 10–65 cm Ma-1 for a sandstone boulder and imply that the modern cold, arid climate has persisted since at least the early Pleistocene.

Surface exposure ages imply multiple low-amplitude Pleistocene variations in East Antarctic Ice Sheet, Ricker Hills, Victoria Land

BARONI, CARLO;SALVATORE, MARIA CRISTINA;
2009-01-01

Abstract

One of the major issues in (palaeo-) climatology is the response of Antarctic ice sheets to global climate changes. Antarctic ice volume has varied in the past but the extent and timing of these fluctuations are not well known. In this study, we address the question of amplitude and timing of past Antarctic ice level changes by surface exposure dating using in situ produced cosmogenic nuclides (10Be and 21Ne). The study area lies in the Ricker Hills, a nunatak at the boundary of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in southern Victoria Land. By determining exposure ages of erratic boulders from glacial drifts we directly date East Antarctic Ice Sheet variations. Erosion-corrected neon and beryllium exposure ages indicate that a major ice advance reaching elevations of about 500 m above present ice levels occurred between 1.125 and 1.375 million years before present. Subsequent ice fluctuations were of lesser extent but timing is difficult as all erratic boulders from related deposits show complex exposure histories. Sample-specific erosion rates were on the order of 20–45 cm Ma-1 for a quartzite and 10–65 cm Ma-1 for a sandstone boulder and imply that the modern cold, arid climate has persisted since at least the early Pleistocene.
Strasky, S.; DI NICOLA, L.; Baroni, Carlo; Salvatore, MARIA CRISTINA; Baur, H.; Kubik, P.; Schluechter, C.; Wieler, R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/201330
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