Glacial contourites on the Antarctic Peninsula margin: insight for palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic conditions
Renata G. Lucchi, Michele Rebesco, 2007. "Glacial contourites on the Antarctic Peninsula margin: insight for palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic conditions", Economic and Palaeoceanographic Significance of Contourite Deposits, A. R. Viana, M. Rebesco
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Deep-sea finely laminated and barren glacial sediments occur in the sediment drift field offshore the Pacific margin of the Antarctic Peninsula where a weak contour current flows at present to the SW. Atypical sedimentary facies were related to the coexistence and interaction of different sedimentary processes. Three 'end-members' of radiograph facies were defined to represent the sedimentary sequences controlled by a dominant process, as follows. (1) Direct influence of turbidity currents on sedimentation is observed in the area surrounding the Alexander Channel system with silty layers interbedded with laminated mud free of ice-rafted debris (IRD). (2) Distal meltwater turbid flows dominate the more proximal area of the top plateau with structureless and coarser-grained sediments containing IRD. (3) Along the crest of the drift, persistent weak bottom currents control the deposition of fine-grained sediments conveyed into the system through other processes. These laminated sediments contain IRD and are, atypically, not bioturbated, because of unusual, climatically related, environmental conditions of suppressed primary productivity and oxygen-reduced deep waters. These glacial contourites were observed on most of the Antarctic margin with the exception of the areas in which polynyas were maintained during the glacial stages. Glacial contourites can be used as a proxy to define temporal and spatial extension of the Antarctic sea-ice.