Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geology

First Advisor

Ishman, Scott

Abstract

This study used Jumbo Piston Core 126, collected from the Nathaniel B. Palmer during cruise NBP10-01, to investigate environmental variability in Barilari Bay, western Antarctic Peninsula as part of the LARsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica (LARISSA) project. A total of 107 samples were collected every 20cm from a 21.42m sediment core. Benthic foraminiferal data from Jumbo Piston Core 126 was analyzed using Principal Component (PC), Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA), and cluster analyses to assist in the Holocene oceanographic and climatic interpretation of Barilari Bay. The first three principal components explain 79.5% of the variance in the foraminiferal abundance data. PC1 comprises 49.6% of the variance and represents the Bulimina aculeata assemblage. PC2 and PC3 explain 16.3% and 13.6% of the variance and characterize the Fursenkoina fusiformis and Pseudobolivina antarctica assemblages, respectively. F. fusiformis assemblage represents the presence of a less saline water mass associated with ice shelf decay. The agglutinated P. antarctica assemblage is indicative of Hyper Saline Shelf Water (HSSW). TheB. aculeata assemblage is associated with Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW) (Ishman and Domack, 1994) Sediments from ~1100-950 calibrated years Before Present (cal. yr BP) are characterized by theB. aculeata assemblage, indicating the presence of UCDW. At ~950 cal. yr BP the UCDW receded coincident with glacial conditions observed during what is interpreted as the Little Ice Age. The ~950-350 cal. yr BP interval represents glacial conditions interpreted from the high PC scores of the P. antarctica assemblage and low foraminiferal abundances due to HSSW and a high sedimentation rate from glacial runoff. Intermittent pulses of UCDW are observed in the 950-350 cal. yr BP interval, expressed by the PC peaks in the B. aculeata assemblage. Between ~300 and 100 cal. yr BP the middle of the fjord was dominated by the F. fusiformis assemblage, suggesting ice shelf decay and open marine conditions. At ~50 cal. yr BP UCDW progressed back into Barilari Bay and is currently the dominant water mass.

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