Development of a Polar Glacial-Marine Sedimentation Model from Antarctic Quaternary Deposits and Glaciological Information

  • John B. Anderson
  • Chris Brake
  • Eugene Domack
  • Nathan Myers
  • Robyn Wright

Abstract

The West Antarctic ice sheet is presently grounded to depths greater than 1000 m below sea level over large areas. Evidence of glacial erosion and deposition, in the form of lodgment till, at such great depths during previous glacial advances is abundant. Glacial-marine sedimentation is dominated by ice-rafting; meltwater input is presently lacking. Rather, the supply of terrigenous sediment to the continental shelf by glaciers is presently dominated by biogenic sedimentation. In the marine ice sheet environment, most sediment is transported as basal debris and is deposited either as lodgment till or near the grounding line beneath the ice shelf. Diamictons deposited beneath the ice shelf are almost identical to lodgment tills. Seaward of the ice shelf, marine currents winnow finer ice-rafted particles and redistribute them so that glacial-marine sediments tend to be better sorted than lodgment tills. Waxing and waning marine ice sheets deposit widespread glacial and glacial-marine facies.

In the coastal regions where the ice sheet is grounded at or above sea level (terrestrial glaciers) and along mountainous portions of the coast, ice drainage mostly confined to outlet glaciers and to a much lesser extent to ice walls. Marine sedimentation in these regions is very different from that which occurs in marine ice sheet environments, primarily in the more restricted nature of facies and the greater marine influence on shelf sedimentation. Mass flow processes, particularly debris flows and turbidity currents, play key roles in redistributing glacial deposits. A simple sedimentation model for glacial-marine sedimentation in deep basins and under polar conditions is presented.

Keywords

Clay Steam Sedimentation Silt Turbidity 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • John B. Anderson
    • 1
  • Chris Brake
    • 1
  • Eugene Domack
    • 1
  • Nathan Myers
    • 1
  • Robyn Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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