Scratching the surface: a marine sediment provenance record from the continental slope of central Wilkes Land, East Antarctica

Sian Tooze*, Jacqueline A. Halpin, Taryn L. Noble, Zanna Chase, Philip E. O'Brien, Leanne Armand

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)
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    The geology of Wilkes Land, East Antarctica, is masked by kilometers of ice and remains largely unexplored. Defining the sediment provenance adjacent to this hidden region is important for distinguishing the proximal subglacial basement terranes and refining the dynamic regional glaciological history. This study presents a detrital sediment provenance record spanning c. 23.5 ka from the continental slope of central Wilkes Land. Sediment provenance was characterized using U-Pb geochronology and trace element geochemistry from detrital zircon, titanite and apatite, and Pb isotopic signatures from detrital feldspar. These data were compared with new feldspar Pb-isotopic signatures and existing U-Pb zircon data sets from rare nearby coastal outcrop. A principally igneous source was revealed with dominant age populations between c. 1,360-1,100 Ma and c. 1,620-1,490 Ma, characteristic of rocks of the proximal Wilkes and Banzare provinces, respectively. Minor detritus was additionally sourced from the proximal Nuyina Province (c. 1,450-1,390 Ma). Temporal variation in the climate and ice sheet configuration are likely responsible for subtle downcore changes observed in detrital sediment provenance. High sedimentation rates during the glacial period suggest reworking of continental shelf sediments and downslope transport in debris flows during ice sheet advance. Glacial meltwater fluxes fed largely by the Totten Glacier were responsible for supplying detritus during deglaciation. During interglacials, detritus was derived from a broad coastal region and delivered to the slope via multiple glacial outlets. These results present the first substantial offshore evidence to support recent interpretations that the subglacial crust of central Wilkes Land has a dominantly Mesoproterozoic history.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere2020GC009156
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    Number of pages23
    JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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