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Changes in climate, ocean and ice-sheet conditions in the Ross embayment, Antarctica, at 6 ka

  • Eric J. Steig (a1), Charles P. Hart (a1), James W. C. White (a1), Wendy L. Cunningham (a1), Mathew D. Davis (a2) and Eric S. Saltzman (a2)...


Evidence from the Ross embayment, Antarctica, suggests an abrupt cooling and a concomitant increase in sea-ice cover at about 6000 BP (6 ka). Stable-isotope (δD) concentrations in the Taylor Dome ice core, at the western edge of the Ross embayment, decline rapidly after 6 ka, and continue to decline through the late Holocene. Methanesulfonic acid concentrations at Taylor Dome show opposite trends to δD Sediment cores from the western Ross Sea show a percentage minimum for the sea-ice diatom Fragilariopsis curta between 9 and 6 ka, whenTaylor Dome δD values are highest, followed by an increase through the late Holocene. Radiocarbon dates from raised beach deposits indicate that the retreat of ice shelves in the Ross embayment ceased at about 6 ka, coincident with the environmental changes inferred from the sediment and ice-core records. The similarity in timing suggests an important role for climate in controlling the evolution of ice-shelf margins following the end of the last glaciation.

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