Middle Miocene environmental and climatic evolution at the Wilkes Land margin, East Antarctica

Francesca Sangiorgi, Sandra Passchier, Ulrich Salzmann, Stefan Schouten, Jorg Pross, Peter Bijl, Lisa Tauxe, James Bendle, Carlotta Escutia, Henk Brinkhuis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 318 successfully drilled a Middle Miocene (~ 17 – 12.5 Ma) record from the Wilkes Land Margin at Site U1356A (63 °18.6138′S, 135 °59.9376′E), located at the transition between the continental rise and the abyssal plain at 4003 mbsl. We present a multiproxy palynological (dinoflagellate cyst, pollen and spores), sedimentological and organic geochemical (TEX86, MBT/CBT) study, which unravels the environmental and climate variability across the Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO, ~17-15 Ma) and the Mid Miocene Climate Transition (MMCT). Several independent lines of evidence indeed suggest a relatively warm climate during the MCO. Dinocyst and pollen assemblage diversity at the MCO is unprecedented for a Neogene Antarctic record and indicates a temperate, sea ice-free marine environment, with woody sub-antarctic vegetation with elements of forest/shrub tundra and peat lands along the coast. These results are further confirmed by relatively warm TEX86-derived Sea Surface Temperatures and mild MBT-derived continental temperatures, and by the absence of glacially derived deposits and very few ice-rafted clasts. A generally colder but highly dynamic environment is suggested for the interval 15-12.5 Ma.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
EventAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2012 - San Francisco, CA
Duration: 1 Dec 2012 → …


ConferenceAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2012
Period1/12/12 → …


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