Late Quaternary environmental history of Taylor Valley, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, reconstructed by a multidisciplinary study of lake sediments


In the unglaciated areas of Antarctica, lake sediments act as archives of the regional environmental and climatic history. In most cases, the records are restricted to the Holocene. Amongst the few exceptions are lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, southern Victoria Land, which are known to have remained mostly ice-free during the Last Glacial Maximum. Within the scope of an U.S.-American-German expedition in austral summer 2002/2003, several sediment cores were recovered from the three major lakes in the Taylor Valley: lakes Fryxell, Hoare, and Bonney. In order to reconstruct the late Quaternary regional environmental and climate history, sedimentological, biogeochemical, mineralogical, and chronological investigations were conducted on the sediment sequences recovered from Lake Hoare (core Lz1020) and East Lake Bonney (core Lz1023) within the scope of this thesis. Sediment cores from Lake Hoare with a maximum length of 2.3 m mainly consist of coarse-grained material and penetrate back into the late Weichselian, when Taylor Valley was occupied by the large proglacial Lake Washburn. This lake was dammed by the advanced Ross Sea ice sheet at the valley outlet and was mainly fed by meltwater of the ice sheet. During the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, enhanced evaporation led to a significant lake level drop of Lake Washburn ...
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