Project Information
West Antarctic Ice-sheet Change and Paleoceanography in the Amundsen Sea Across the Pliocene Climatic Optimum
Short Title:
West Antarctic Ice-sheet change in the Pliocene
Start Date:
End Date:
The project targets the long-term variability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet over several glacial-interglacial cycles in the early Pliocene sedimentary record drilled by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 379 in the Amundsen Sea. Data collection includes 1) the sand provenance of ice-rafted debris and shelf diamictites and its sources within the Amundsen Sea and Antarctic Peninsula region; 2) sedimentary structures and sortable silt calculations from particle size records and reconstructions of current intensities and interactions; and 3) the bulk provenance of continental rise sediments compared to existing data from the Amundsen Sea shelf with investigations into downslope currents as pathways for Antarctic Bottom Water formation. The results are analyzed within a cyclostratigraphic framework of reflectance spectroscopy and colorimetry (RSC) and X-ray fluorescence scanner (XRF) data to gain insight into orbital forcing of the high-latitude processes. The early Pliocene Climatic Optimum (PCO) ~4.5-4.1 Ma spans a major warm period recognized in deep-sea stable isotope and sea-surface temperature records. This period also coincides with a global mean sea level highstand of > 20 m requiring contributions in ice mass loss from Antarctica. The following hypotheses will be tested: 1) that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreated from the continental shelf break through an increase in sub iceshelf melt and iceberg calving at the onset of the PCO ~4.5 Ma, and 2) that dense shelf water cascaded down through slope channels after ~4.5 Ma as the continental shelf became exposed during glacial terminations. The project will reveal for the first time how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet operated in a warmer climate state prior to the onset of the current “icehouse” period ~3.3 Ma.
Person Role
Passchier, Sandra Investigator and contact
Antarctic Earth Sciences Award # 2114839
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
Platforms and Instruments

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