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Precipitation trapped in datable rock-forming minerals: estimating Antarctic palaeoelevations - a discussion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2006

Anke S. Wendt
British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK current address: Data & Consulting Services, Geomechanics, Schlumberger, PO Box 8013, N-4068 Stavanger, Norway
Alan P.M. Vaughan
British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
Adrian J. Boyce
Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, Isotope Geosciences Unit, East Kilbride, Glasgow G75 0QF, UK


Meteoric water that interacted with minerals during retrogressive metamorphism and hydrothermalism in the late-stage of mountain building processes contains hydrogen and oxygen isotopes that are potential proxies for palaeoelevation reconstruction in Antarctica. The effects of temperature on meteoric isotopic signatures, meteoric crustal infiltration processes, and the mechanisms of capture and preservation of meteoric δD and δ18O values in rock-forming minerals are discussed. Special emphasis is given to Antarctica’s geographical high-latitude position and climatic fluctuations over time and to the highmountain ranges of continental Antarctica, which were tectonically active regions in the past. In this context, a new compilation of recent Antarctic snow and ice δD and δ18O data is presented, by which we demonstrate that net elevations versus isotopic depletions are positively correlated for continental Antarctica - a prime requisite when estimating palaeoelevations.

© Antarctic Science Ltd 2006

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