Abstract

Multichannel seismic profiles across the Pacific margin of the Antarctic Peninsula show a series of oblique progradational sequences. These sequences exhibit a variety of unusual characteristics that suggest they were produced by the action of ice sheets grounded out to the shelf edge at times of glacial maximum. Reflection events from deeper stratigraphic levels, followed down the continental slope and onto the rise, overlie ocean crust of known age, showing that at least eight such glacial sequences have been deposited within the past 6 m.y. Similar groundings have probably occurred on most Antarctic margins, but the depositional record is particularly well preserved at this margin because of Pliocene-Pleistocene thermal subsidence. Neogene global sea-level fluctuations have been attributed to changes in volume of continental ice sheets. The depositional sequences on the Pacific margin of the Antarctic Peninsula are thought to record West Antarctic ice-sheet fluctuations directly. Further investigation of these sequences would assess the relation between fluctuations in ice volume and the low-latitude record of global sea-level change.

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