Abstract

Seismic-reflection data from the easternmost Ross Sea image buried scour-and-fill troughs and flat-topped ridges interpreted as having formed by glacial erosion and deposition during the Oligo-cene. The NNW-SSE orientation of the troughs and lack of similar Oligocene glacial features within the central Ross Sea suggests that the ice issued from the highlands of Marie Byrd Land located 100 km away and that portions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet formed earlier than previously accepted. Existing global climate models (GCMs) do not produce West Antarctic ice caps for the Oligocene, in part due to low elevations modeled for that time. Evidence for Oligocene ice beyond the paleocoast suggests a higher elevation for the early Cenozoic Marie Byrd Land and Ross Embayment than at present.

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