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Postglacial evolution of marine and lacustrine water bodies in Bunger Hills

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2020

Sonja Berg*
Affiliation:
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Germany
Martin Melles
Affiliation:
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Germany
Damian B. Gore
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW2109, Australia
Sergei Verkulich
Affiliation:
Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St Petersburg, Russia
Zina V. Pushina
Affiliation:
Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St Petersburg, Russia

Abstract

Unglaciated coastal areas in East Antarctica provide records of past ice sheet and glacier fluctuations and subsequent environmental conditions. In this paper we review lithological, geochemical, diatom and radiocarbon data from sediment records from inland and epishelf lakes in Bunger Hills, East Antarctica. While some hilltops were unglaciated during the Last Glacial Maximum, till deposits in lake basins indicate infilling by glacier ice prior to the Holocene. Proglacial sedimentation occurred in lakes during the early Holocene. Around 9.6 ka bp, deposition of marine sapropel started under relatively warm climate conditions. Inland lakes were affected by high clastic input from meltwater runoff until c. 7.9 ka bp, when deposition became highly organic and biogenic proxies indicate a period of cooler conditions. Epishelf lakes experienced a decrease in water exchange with the ocean and increased freshwater input around 7.7 ± 0.2 ka bp and after 2.2 ka bp. This probably resulted from grounding line advances of the bounding glaciers, which could be either controlled by relative sea level (RSL) lowering and/or climate-driven glacier dynamics. The absence of marine sediments in the postglacial record of Algae Lake indicates that Holocene RSL probably reached a maximum at or below 10 m above present sea level.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2020

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