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Pliocene deglacial event timelines and the biogeochemical response offshore Wilkes Subglacial Basin, East Antarctica

AuthorsBertram, R. A.; Wilson, David J.; van de Flierdt, Tina; McKay, Robert M.; Patterson, M. O.; Jiménez Espejo, Francisco J.; Escutia, Carlota ; Duke, G. C.; Taylor-Silva, Briar I.; Riesselman, Christina R.
Radiogenic isotopes
Deglacial timescales
Issue Date17-May-2018
PublisherElsevier BV
CitationEarth and Planetary Science Letters 494: 109-116 (2018)
AbstractSignificantly reduced ice coverage in Greenland and West Antarctica during the warmer-than-present Pliocene could account for ∼10 m of global mean sea level rise. Any sea level increase beyond this would require contributions from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). Previous studies have presented low-resolution geochemical evidence from the geological record, suggesting repeated ice advance and retreat in low-lying areas of the EAIS such as the Wilkes Subglacial Basin. However, the rates and mechanisms of retreat events are less well constrained. Here we present orbitally-resolved marine detrital sediment provenance data, paired with ice-rafted debris and productivity proxies, during three time intervals from the middle to late Pliocene at IODP Site U1361A, offshore of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin. Our new data reveal that Pliocene shifts in sediment provenance were paralleled by increases in marine productivity, while the onset of such changes was marked by peaks in ice-rafted debris mass accumulation rates. The coincidence of sediment provenance and marine productivity change argues against a switch in sediment delivery between ice streams, and instead suggests that deglacial warming triggered increased rates of iceberg calving, followed by inland retreat of the ice margin. Timescales from the onset of deglaciation to an inland retreated ice margin within the Wilkes Subglacial Basin are on the order of several thousand years. This geological evidence corroborates retreat rates determined from ice sheet modeling, and a contribution of ∼3 to 4 m of equivalent sea level rise from one of the most vulnerable areas of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during interglacial intervals throughout the middle to late Pliocene.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.04.054
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.04.054
issn: 0012-821X
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