Abstract

We present the first circum-East Antarctic chronology for the Holocene, based on 17 radiocarbon dates generated by the accelerator method. Marine sediments from around East Antarctica contain a consistent, high-resolution record of terrigenous (ice-proximal) and biogenic (open-marine) sedimentation during Holocene time. This record demonstrates that biogenic sedimentation beneath the open-marine environment on the continental shelf has been restricted to approximately the past 4 ka, whereas a period of terrigenous sedimentation related to grounding line advance of ice tongues and ice shelves took place between 7 and 4 ka. An earlier period of open-marine (biogenic sedimentation) conditions following the late Pleistocene glacial maximum is recognized from the Prydz Bay (Ocean Drilling Program) record between 10.7 and 7.3 ka. Clearly, the response of outlet systems along the periphery of the East Antarctic ice sheet during the mid-Holocene was expansion. This may have been a direct consequence of climate warming during an Antarctic "Hypsithermal." Temperature-accumulation relations for the Antarctic indicate that warming will cause a significant increase in accumulation rather than in ablation. Models that predict a positive mass balance (growth) of the Antarctic ice sheet under global warming are supported by the mid-Holocene data presented herein.

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