A review of geomorphic processes and landforms in the Dry Valleys of southern Victoria Land: Implications for evaluating climate change and ice-sheet stability
D. R. Marchant, S. L. Mackay, J. L. Lamp, A. T. Hayden, J. W. Head, 2013. "A review of geomorphic processes and landforms in the Dry Valleys of southern Victoria Land: Implications for evaluating climate change and ice-sheet stability", Antarctic Palaeoenvironments and Earth-Surface Processes, M. J. Hambrey, P. F. Barker, P. J. Barrett, V. Bowman, B. Davies, J. L. Smellie, M. Tranter
Download citation file:
The Dry Valleys are subdivided into three microclimate zones on the basis of summertime measurements of atmospheric temperature, soil moisture, relative humidity and wind-speed/ direction. Subtle variations in these climate parameters result in considerable differences in process geomorphology and in the development of unique landforms within each zone. The mapped zones include a coastal thaw zone, an inland mixed zone and a stable upland zone. Landforms within each zone are subdivided into macroscale features (e.g. valleys, slopes and gullies), mesoscale features (e.g. polygons and viscous-flow features) and microscale features (e.g. rock and near-surface soil features, including the effects of salt weathering, wind erosion and pitting). We present a review of landscape development in the Dry Valleys with implications for long-term climate change and ice-sheet stability. Chronological control is afforded by 40Ar/39Ar dating of volcanic ash-fall deposits and cosmogenic nuclide analyses of surface boulders. Collectively, the data call for persistent cold and dry conditions in the stable upland zone for approximately the last 14 Ma, although some level of climatic amelioration and landform modification may have occurred within low-lying regions and in the inland mixed zone.
Figures & Tables
Antarctic Palaeoenvironments and Earth-Surface Processes
The volume highlights developments in our understanding of the palaeogeographical, palaeobiological, palaeoclimatic and cryospheric evolution of Antarctica. It focuses on the sedimentary record from the Devonian to the Quaternary Period. It features tectonic evolution and stratigraphy, as well as processes taking place adjacent to, beneath and beyond the ice-sheet margin, including the continental shelf.
The contributions in this volume include several invited review papers, as well as original research papers arising from the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences in Edinburgh, in July 2011. These papers demonstrate a remarkable diversity of Earth science interests in the Antarctic. Following international trends, there is particular emphasis on the Cenozoic Era, reflecting the increasing emphasis on the documentation and understanding of the past record of ice-sheet fluctuations. Furthermore, Antarctic Earth history is providing us with important information about potential future trends, as the impact of global warming is increasingly felt on the continent and its ocean.