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Limited Pliocene/Pleistocene glaciation in Deep Freeze Range, northern Victoria Land, Antarctica, derived from in situ cosmogenic nuclides

  • PETER OBERHOLZER (a1), CARLO BARONI (a2), JOERG M. SCHAEFER (a3), GIUSEPPE OROMBELLI (a4), SUSAN IVY OCHS (a5), PETER W. KUBIK (a6), HEINRICH BAUR (a1) and RAINER WIELER (a1)...

Abstract

The question of how stable the climate in Antarctica has been during the last few million years compared to the rest of the planet is still controversial. This study attempts to add new information to the discussion by reconstructing the timing and spatial extent of glacial advances in northern Victoria Land over tens of thousands to millions of years. In Terra Nova Bay region, surface exposure ages and erosion rates of glacially rounded bedrock and glacial erratics have been determined using the cosmogenic nuclides 3He, 10Be and 21Ne. Three morphological units have been analysed. They yield minimum ages of 11 to 34 ka, 309 ka, and 2.6 Ma, respectively. Erosion rates were as low as 20 cm Ma−1 since middle Pliocene time. Taking erosion into account, the oldest surface is 5.3 Ma old. Pleistocene glacier advances had considerable extent, reaching up to 780 m above modern ice levels, but have been restricted to the valleys since at least mid-Pliocene. The existence of landscapes of mid-Pliocene age in northern Victoria Land implies that the climatic stability of the McMurdo Dry Valleys is not unique within the Transantarctic Mountains, but rather the expression of a constantly cold and hyperarid climate regime in entire Victoria Land.

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corresponding author: oberholzer@erdw.ethz.ch

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Limited Pliocene/Pleistocene glaciation in Deep Freeze Range, northern Victoria Land, Antarctica, derived from in situ cosmogenic nuclides

  • PETER OBERHOLZER (a1), CARLO BARONI (a2), JOERG M. SCHAEFER (a3), GIUSEPPE OROMBELLI (a4), SUSAN IVY OCHS (a5), PETER W. KUBIK (a6), HEINRICH BAUR (a1) and RAINER WIELER (a1)...

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