The Stratigraphic Expression of the Onset of Glaciation in Eocene-Oligocene Successions on the Antarctic Continental Margin
This project will investigate glacial advance and retreat of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet through the Eocene-Oligocene transition, a major episode of ice growth. In Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, a 130-170 m thick Eocene-Oligocene transition interval of glaciomarine sediments was cored in drillholes of the Ocean Drilling Program at Sites 739, 742 and 1166. Correlations between the Prydz Bay drillholes have recently been made through well-log and multichannel seismic interpretations. Recent drilling on the Wilkes Land margin of East Antarctica recovered earliest Oligocene sediments overlying a major regional unconformity in two drillholes. The PI will study the lithostratigraphy and weathering history of cores in the five drillholes, to establish a unique Eocene-Oligocene transition record within Antarctic continental margin sediments of glacial advance and retreat cycles, the onset of physical weathering, and glacio-isostasy and self-gravitation processes with implications for the margin architecture, sediment routing, and off-shore sediment dispersal. Cores from the five drillholes will be re-examined through detailed core description using an updated classification scheme, so that lithofacies can be compared between drillholes. Samples will be collected for detailed laser particle size and bulk major element geochemistry via ICP-AES to determine the degree of chemical alteration of the sediments. Phases of major ice growth will be recognized as marker beds of physically eroded sediment and will be correlated to isotopic records documenting Antarctic ice growth offshore in the Southern Ocean.
This project will benefit a large minority undergraduate student population through the availability of up to two paid laboratory internships, a classroom exercise, and the availability of research equipment supported by this award. The project also allows support and training of a graduate student.
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