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Modern sedimentation, circulation and life beneath the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 22:18 authored by Post, AL, Benjamin Galton-FenziBenjamin Galton-Fenzi, Riddle, MJ, Laura Herraiz-BorregueroLaura Herraiz-Borreguero, O'Brien, PE, Hemer, MA, Andrew McMinnAndrew McMinn, Rasch, D, Craven, M
The surface sedimentary record from six cores collected from beneath the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, provides a unique view of the sedimentary and oceanographic processes in this sub-ice shelf setting. The composition and age of the surface sediments indicate spatial variations in ice shelf cavity–ocean interaction, which are consistent with patterns of ocean inflow and outflow modelled and observed beneath the ice shelf. Sediments within 100 km of the ice shelf front (site AM01) show the greatest open ocean influence with a young surface age and the highest total diatom abundance, compared to older ages and lower diatom abundances at sites deeper in the cavity (AM03–AM06). The variable marine influence between sites determines the nature of benthic communities. Seabed imagery indicates the existence of sessile suspension feeders in areas of strong marine inflow (site AM01b), while grazers, deposit feeders and a few suspension feeders occur at sites more distal from the shelf calving front where the food supply is lower (sites AM03 and AM04). Understanding the sedimentary and oceanographic processes within the sub-ice shelf environment allows better constraint of interpretations of down core sediment records, an improved understanding of the nature of biological communities in sub-ice shelf environments, and a baseline for determining the sensitivity of the system to any future changes in ocean dynamics.


Publication title

Continental Shelf Research








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

Copyright 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments

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