Abstract

Recycled Cretaceous and Cenozoic marine microfossils have been recovered from samples of the Pliocene Sinus Formation. Samples were collected from outcrops in the Reedy, Beardmore, and Ferrar glacier areas of the Transantarctic Mountains between lat 77° and 86°S. The glaciogene sediments contained diatoms, foraminifera, calcareous nannoplankton, silicoflagellates, radiolarians, sponge spicules, palynomorphs, and ostracodes of Late Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, late Oligocene, late Miocene, and Pliocene age. This suggests the presence of open marine basins on the East Antarctic craton during late Mesozoic and Cenozoic time. The apparent absence of early Oligocene and early through middle and earliest late Miocene assemblages suggests either that marine regression exposed the basin floors or that ice filled the basins during these times. The high-elevation setting of Sirius Formation outcrops suggests one of two hypotheses for their origin: (1) They are in situ Pliocene glaciomarine deposits that were uplifted 1,750–2,500 m with the Transantarctic Mountains to their present elevation; (2) the Sirius Formation deposits are a mixture of derived sediments stripped from sub-ice intracratonic basins and subsequently redeposited by ice flowing up the inland slope of the Transantarctic Mountains. We favor the second hypothesis, with transport to sites sometime within the past 3 m.y.

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