Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geology

First Advisor

Esling, Steven

Second Advisor

Ishman, Scott

Third Advisor

Vitt, Dale

Abstract

During the Austral Spring of 2007-2008 the ANtarctic geological DRILLing program (ANDRILL) recovered a 1,138 meter long sediment core AND-2A from the western side of the Victoria Land Basin for the Southern McMurdo Sound Project. The main goal of the project is to help establish a Neogene (~24 to 1.6 Mya) ice volume and climate record of Antarctica. This study focuses on the foraminifera record of AND-2A for paleoenvironmental and biostratigraphic purposes.
AND-2A is unique in that it contains a Middle Miocene record (~17 to ~11 Mya) that includes the Middle Miocene transition of warm climatic conditions favoring polythermal ice sheets to major cooling into polar conditions resulting in the quasi-permanent formation of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. This Middle Miocene transition has not been previously recovered from the Antarctic continental margin.
The foraminifer record is not abundant; however, three assemblage zones are identified throughout AND-2A. Calcareous benthic taxa dominate every assemblage, as well as displaying similarities between modern shallow shelf assemblages around Antarctica and assemblages from previous drilling projects in the Ross Sea sector. The foraminifera record displays a dynamic environmental record and is supported by both the sedimentologic and other paleontologic findings.

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