Icebergs rework shelf sediments to 500 m off Antarctica

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Icebergs and sea ice rework the sediments of high-latitude shelves, producing modern diamicts (ice-keel turbates) unrelated to glacial proximity. Off Antarctica, sidescan sonar data indicate the presence of ice-gouge features formed by the physical interaction between ice keels and the sea bed. These are recognized as incisions a few metres deep and tens of metres wide, in water depths up to 500 m. On the submarine bank tops and slopes off Wilkes Land and in the Weddell Sea, subcircular depressions 30 to 150 m in diameter, a washboard pattern, and hummocky bed features also represent iceberg-resting sites. The freshness of sea-bed morphology, nearby Holocene sediment ponding, and active hydraulic sedimentary processes indicate that the sea floor is being reworked by iceberg keels. Tabular iceberg drafts in excess of 330 m have been measured, and modeling studies suggest that nontabular iceberg drafts of 500 m are possible. We conclude that a modern ice-keel turbate deposit in the form of a poorly stratified diamicton is probably widespread on that part (54%) of the Antarctic shelf less than 500 m deep.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Icebergs rework shelf sediments to 500 m off Antarctica
Series title Geology
DOI 10.1130/0091-7613(1988)016<1130:IRSSTM>2.3.CO;2
Volume 16
Issue 12
Year Published 1988
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of America
Description 4 p.
First page 1130
Last page 1133
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