Postglacial evolution of marine and lacustrine water bodies in Bunger Hills

Sonja Berg, Martin Melles, Damian B. Gore, Sergei Verkulich, Zina V. Pushina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Unglaciated coastal areas in East Antarctica provide records of past ice sheet and glacier fluctuations and subsequent environmental conditions. In this paper we review lithological, geochemical, diatom and radiocarbon data from sediment records from inland and epishelf lakes in Bunger Hills, East Antarctica. While some hilltops were unglaciated during the Last Glacial Maximum, till deposits in the lake basins indicate infilling by glacier ice prior to the Holocene. Proglacial sedimentation occurred in lakes during the early Holocene. Around 9.6 ka BP, deposition of marine sapropel started under relatively warm climate conditions. Inland lakes were affected by high clastic input from meltwater runoff until c. 7.9 ka BP, when deposition became highly organic and biogenic proxies indicate a period of cooler conditions. Epishelf lakes experienced a decrease in water exchange with the ocean and increased freshwater input around 7.7 ± 0.2 ka BP and after 2.2 ka BP. This likely resulted from grounding line advances of the bounding glaciers, which could be either controlled by relative sea level (RSL) lowering and/or climate-driven glacier dynamics. The absence of marine sediments in the postglacial record of Algae Lake indicate that Holocene RSL likely reached a maximum at or below 10 m above present sea level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-129
Number of pages23
JournalAntarctic Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • East Antarctica
  • epishelf lakes
  • glacier fluctuations
  • lakes
  • relative sea level
  • sediments

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