Early stall of West Antarctic Ice Sheet advance on the eastern Ross Sea middle shelf followed by retreat at 27,500 14C yr BP

TitleEarly stall of West Antarctic Ice Sheet advance on the eastern Ross Sea middle shelf followed by retreat at 27,500 14C yr BP
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBart, PJ, Cone, AN
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume335-336
Pagination52-60
ISSN0031-0182
Abstract

Marine geological and geophysical data suggest that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) deposited three thick seismically-resolvable units in the eastern Ross Sea since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) but the chronology of these grounding events is debated. Existing ice-retreat chronologies for the eastern Ross Sea are considered suspect because nearly all have been developed using radiocarbon dating of acid-insoluble organics (AIO) from bulk sediment. We used a new strategy to isolate in situ forams from diamict sediment deposited at the middle-shelf grounding-zone wedge (GZW) — a subaqueous ice-marginal landform previously interpreted to represent deposition during the third grounding event since the LGM advance to the shelf edge. Here we present a synthesis of our new radiocarbon dates of foram tests and AIO with previously published radiocarbon dates. We propose that the WAIS's LGM advance in the eastern-Ross Sea sector reached the middle shelf circa 27,500 14C yr BP and that open-marine sedimentation began shortly thereafter. There is as of yet no clear explanation for why WAIS retreat in this sector of Antarctica apparently began prior to the peak of the last glacial cold period. A precipitation deficit, localized warm water intrusion, an ice dynamic response in the absence of climate forcing or another as of yet unknown forcing mechanism could be responsible.

URLhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018211004330
DOI10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.08.007