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Geological evidence for changes in the East Antarctica ice sheet (60°–120°E) during the last glaciation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2009

Eric A. Colhoun
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, University of Newcastle, Rankin Drive, Newcastle NSW 2308Australia

Abstract

The East Antarctica ice sheet advanced onto the continental shelf during the last glaciation but appears to have been thinner (<300 m) than previously hypothesised and probably did not everywhere extend to the edge of the continental shelf. Where the shelf is wide, the ice probably terminated against shallow banks on its outer edge. There may not have been time for the sheet to develop the maximum profile form and thickness predicted by Hollin (1962) and Hughes and others (1981) of about 1000–500 moverthe shelf. Large outlet glaciers occupied deep troughs that conveyed most of the ice towards the edge of the shelf: intervening areas were less intensely glaciated. Much of Prince Charles Mountains and Amery Oasis were not ice-covered: Vestfold, Bunger and Casey oases were glaciated. Vestfold and Bunger oases became ice-free after 10 ka BP under the influence of the Holocene marine transgression, which was complete by about 6 ka BP. During at least the last 5–6 ka these oases have been approximately their present size. Since then the margins of the Antarctic continental ice sheet have maintained almost steady state conditions against the landward edges of the hill masses.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1991

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