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Blanketing snow and ice; constraints on radiocarbon dating deglaciation in East Antarctic oases

  • Damian B. Gore (a1)

Radiocarbon dating of marine, lacustrine or terrestrial biogenic deposits is the main technique used to determine when deglaciation of the oases of East Antarctica occurred. However, at many of the oases of East Antarctica, including the Schirmacher Oasis, Stillwell Hills, Amery Oasis, Larsemann Hills, Taylor Islands and Grearson Oasis, snow and ice presently forms extensive blankets that fills valleys and some lake basins, covers perennial lake ice and in places overwhelms local topography to form ice domes up to hundreds of square kilometres in area. Field observations from Larsemann Hills and Taylor Islands suggest that under these conditions, terrestrial and lacustrine biogenic sedimentation is neither widespread nor abundant. If similar conditions prevailed in and around the oases immediately following retreat of the ice sheet, then a lengthy hiatus might exist between deglaciation and the onset of widespread or abundant biogenic sedimentation. As a result, radiocarbon dating might be a clumsy tool with which to reconstruct deglaciation history, and independent dating methods that record emergence of the hilltops from the continental ice must be employed as well.

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Antarctic Science
  • ISSN: 0954-1020
  • EISSN: 1365-2079
  • URL: /core/journals/antarctic-science
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