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Processes and Models of Antarctic Glaciomarine Sedimentation

  • D. J. Drewry (a1) and A. P. R. Cooper (a1)

Glaciomarine sediments (GMS) comprise detrital, biogenic, and authigenic materials of two principal facies: laminated deposits and massive aqueous till. The processes governing sedimentation of the ice-rafted debris (IRD) component of GMS are investigated in the marine zone around Antarctica. Four controlling factors are identified: nature and disposition of sediments at the grounding line, transition from grounded to floating ice (ice shelves, outlet glaciers, and ice cliffs), processes of under-side melting and freezing of these ice masses, and, finally, mechanisms of iceberg calving, fragmentation, and melt-release of debris in the open ocean. Modelling studies of Brunt and Ross ice shelves suggest two main conclusions. (1) Ice shelves are of major importance for sedimentation on the continental shelf. Bulk •debris release occurs within the grounding-line zone which may frequently oscillate, producing pronounced diachronism. Bottom melting removes all debris prior to calving at the ice front so that ice shelves do not play a part in deposition in the open ocean. (2) Outlet glaciers, in contrast, have high sediment content, calve rapidly, and produce debris-rich icebergs which contribute the major portion of IRD in the ocean.

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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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