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Late Quaternary glacial–interglacial variations in sediment supply in the southern Drake Passage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2012

Jae Il Lee*
Korea Polar Research Institute, Songdo Technopark, 12 Gaetbeol-ro, Songdo-dong, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406–840, Republic of Korea
Ho Il Yoon
Korea Polar Research Institute, Songdo Technopark, 12 Gaetbeol-ro, Songdo-dong, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406–840, Republic of Korea
Kyu-Cheul Yoo
Korea Polar Research Institute, Songdo Technopark, 12 Gaetbeol-ro, Songdo-dong, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406–840, Republic of Korea
Hyoun Soo Lim
Korea Polar Research Institute, Songdo Technopark, 12 Gaetbeol-ro, Songdo-dong, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406–840, Republic of Korea
Yong Il Lee
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151–742, Republic of Korea
Donghyun Kim
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151–742, Republic of Korea
Young-Suk Bak
Department of Geology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702–701, Republic of Korea
Takuya Itaki
Geological Survey of Japan, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Higashi 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibraki 305–8567, Japan
Corresponding author. Fax: + 82 32 260 6109. Email


Geochemical characteristics of marine sediment from the southern Drake Passage were analyzed to reconstruct variations in sediment provenance and transport paths during the late Quaternary. The 5.95 m gravity core used in this study records paleoenvironmental changes during the last approximately 600 ka. Down-core variations in trace element, rare earth element, and Nd and Sr isotopic compositions reveal that sediment provenance varied according to glacial cycles. During glacial periods, detrital sediments in the southern Drake Passage were mostly derived from the nearby South Shetland Islands and shelf sediments. In contrast, interglacial sediments are composed of mixed sediments, derived from both West Antarctica and East Antarctica. The East Antarctic provenance of the interglacial sediments was inferred to be the Weddell Sea region. Sediment input from the Weddell Sea was reduced during glacial periods by extensive ice sheets and weakened current from the Weddell Sea. Sediment supply from the Weddell Sea increased during interglacial periods, especially those with higher warmth such as MIS 5, 9, and 11. This suggests that the influence of deep water from the Weddell Sea increases during interglacial periods and decreases during glacial periods, with the degree of influence increasing as interglacial intensity increases.

University of Washington

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