Sedimentation processes influenced by late Cenozoic ice-sheet dynamics and bottom-current activity can be extracted from the seismic stratigraphic record of the Ross Sea continental slope and rise, where more continuous sedimentary successions are preserved compared to the continental shelf. In this study, we present a seismic stratigraphic analysis of the Central Basin that lies in the northwestern Ross Sea, using newly acquired and existing legacy seismic reflection data that are correlated to adjacent scientific drill sites. The chronostratigraphy of Ross Sea seismic sequences lying above the mid-Miocene sequence boundary (RSU4, ca. 16.5–15.5 Ma) is based on the former Antarctic Offshore Stratigraphy (ANTOSTRAT) project. Depth-contour and isopach maps of sedimentary sequences bounded by two major unconformities of RSU4 and RSU2 (the late Pliocene boundary, ca. 4.0–2.8 Ma) and the present-day seafloor were produced to illustrate the evolution of paleo-seafloor morphology, distribution of sediments and depocenter migration in the western Ross Sea outer margin. The results of seismic stratigraphic analysis indicate that gravity sedimentation processes dominated the Central Basin infill up to the mid-Miocene, and then downslope sediment supply gradually diminished through the late Miocene and Quaternary, likely reflecting a shift toward a cooler, less erosive glacial regime change. Since the late Pliocene, a topset-truncated glacial prograding wedge developed in the upper continental slope at the mouth of the Joides Basin and the sediment depocenter was shifted from the basin floor to the upper slope, suggesting the more persistent occurrence of grounded ice sheets on the outer continental shelf. Meanwhile, persistent along-slope bottom-current processes formed contourites on the slope and over the crests of banks surrounding the Central Basin since the mid-Miocene. In the late Pliocene, the contourites that formed off the Joides Basin mouth were overlain by glaciogenic debris flows, while the growth of contourites continued over and along the flanks of banks, farther to the north. This suggests that along-slope bottom-current processes near the Joides Basin mouth were diminished or dominated by the glacial discharge to the continental shelf edge. The sediment stacking patterns differ between the Joides/Central Basins and the Drygalski/Adare Basins located on the westernmost Ross Sea margin, suggesting that distinctive glacial/interglacial behavior of the former grounded ice streams and sediment supplies in the troughs feeding these basins were largely controlled by the paleo-seafloor morphology of the western Ross Sea continental shelf. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Seismic stratigraphy of the Central Basin in northwestern Ross Sea slope and rise, Antarctica: Clues to the late Cenozoic ice-sheet dynamics and bottom-current activity

De Santis L;Cotterle D;Petronio L;Geletti R;
2018

Abstract

Sedimentation processes influenced by late Cenozoic ice-sheet dynamics and bottom-current activity can be extracted from the seismic stratigraphic record of the Ross Sea continental slope and rise, where more continuous sedimentary successions are preserved compared to the continental shelf. In this study, we present a seismic stratigraphic analysis of the Central Basin that lies in the northwestern Ross Sea, using newly acquired and existing legacy seismic reflection data that are correlated to adjacent scientific drill sites. The chronostratigraphy of Ross Sea seismic sequences lying above the mid-Miocene sequence boundary (RSU4, ca. 16.5–15.5 Ma) is based on the former Antarctic Offshore Stratigraphy (ANTOSTRAT) project. Depth-contour and isopach maps of sedimentary sequences bounded by two major unconformities of RSU4 and RSU2 (the late Pliocene boundary, ca. 4.0–2.8 Ma) and the present-day seafloor were produced to illustrate the evolution of paleo-seafloor morphology, distribution of sediments and depocenter migration in the western Ross Sea outer margin. The results of seismic stratigraphic analysis indicate that gravity sedimentation processes dominated the Central Basin infill up to the mid-Miocene, and then downslope sediment supply gradually diminished through the late Miocene and Quaternary, likely reflecting a shift toward a cooler, less erosive glacial regime change. Since the late Pliocene, a topset-truncated glacial prograding wedge developed in the upper continental slope at the mouth of the Joides Basin and the sediment depocenter was shifted from the basin floor to the upper slope, suggesting the more persistent occurrence of grounded ice sheets on the outer continental shelf. Meanwhile, persistent along-slope bottom-current processes formed contourites on the slope and over the crests of banks surrounding the Central Basin since the mid-Miocene. In the late Pliocene, the contourites that formed off the Joides Basin mouth were overlain by glaciogenic debris flows, while the growth of contourites continued over and along the flanks of banks, farther to the north. This suggests that along-slope bottom-current processes near the Joides Basin mouth were diminished or dominated by the glacial discharge to the continental shelf edge. The sediment stacking patterns differ between the Joides/Central Basins and the Drygalski/Adare Basins located on the westernmost Ross Sea margin, suggesting that distinctive glacial/interglacial behavior of the former grounded ice streams and sediment supplies in the troughs feeding these basins were largely controlled by the paleo-seafloor morphology of the western Ross Sea continental shelf. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/1268
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