Paleobathymetric Reconstruction, Modeled Ocean Circulation, and Sedimentation History in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica
|Other Titles:||Paleobathymetric Wiederaufbau, Modeled Ozean Zirkulation und Sedimentation in der Weddellmeer, Antarktis||Authors:||Huang, Xiaoxia||Supervisor:||Gohl, Karsten, Jokat, Wilfried||1. Expert:||Jokat, Wilfried||2. Expert:||Spiegel, Cornelia||Abstract:||
The Weddell Sea basin is of particular significance for understanding climate processes, including the generation of ocean water masses and their influences on ocean circulation as well as the Antarctic ice sheets dynamics. The sedimentary record, preserved in the basin serves as an archive of the pre-glacial to glacial development, ocean circulation and tectonic evolution. This thesis focuses on understanding the sedimentation history and reconstructing paleo-water depths, using all available multichannel seismic lines and existing drilling sites, with the aim to apply the paleo-water depths to General Circulation Models (GCM) of the Weddell Sea basin. A series of sedimentary thicknesses grids (pre-glacial, transitional, full-glacial) and paleobathymetric grids produced in this work are essential contributions for numerical climate simulations and ocean circulations. These sedimentary thickness grids allow the comparison of sedimentary regimes of the pre-glacially dominated and glacially dominated stages of Weddell Sea history. The pre-glacial deposition with thicknesses of up to 5 km was controlled by the tectonic evolution and sea-floor spreading history interacting with terrigenous sediment supply. The transitional unit shows a relatively high sedimentation rate and has thicknesses of up to 3 km, which may be attributed to an early formation of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet having partly advanced to the coast or even inner shelf. The main deposition centre of the full-glacial unit lies in front of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf and has sedimentation rates of up to 140-200 m/Myr, which infers that ice sheets grounded on the middle to outer shelf and that bottom-water currents strongly impacted the deep-sea sedimentation in the middle Miocene. The paleobathymetric grids at 15, 34 and 120 Ma are reconstructed by using a backstripping technique and applied to constrain paleoclimate models. Coupled GCM runs are forced by global warm climatic boundary conditions of the Mid-Miocene and the new Weddell Sea paleobathymetry data. The GCM model results suggest that deep water formation and ocean circulation are especially sensitive to the paleobathymetric configuration of the Weddell Sea which is mainly characterized by a more southerly shelf break than at present or in previous paleobathymetric reconstructions for the Miocene. The southwards shifted shelf break of the Weddell Sea results in dramatic changes in simulated mixed layer depth and bottom water formation. Intensification of this bottom water plays a significant role in sediment distribution and the geomorphology of the Weddell Sea margin, e.g. through the build-up of a number of large sediment drifts. In addition to the paleobathymetric study of the Weddell Sea, I carried out two seismic interpretation studies in the southeast Weddell Sea and along the Dronning Maud Land margin. Large deposition centers, the Crary Trough Mouth Fan and prominent sediment ridges, are interpreted as glacial deposits of the southeastern Weddell Sea. Two giant, sinuous, NE-SW-oriented sediment ridges are interpreted as turbidity-contourites, due to the complicated down-slope/along-slope processes occurring across their margins. The large catchment area, abundant sediment supply, fluctuating sea level and ice sheet dynamics are the major contributions for the sedimentation. The remarkable increase in mass-transport deposits during the Late Miocene and Middle to Late Pliocene is related to the build-up of pore overpressure during rapid sediment accumulation as well as changing sea level and may be triggered by glacio-isostatic paleoearthquakes. Based on seismic reflection data and well data acquired on the continental margin offshore Dronning Maud Land, the sedimentation processes are investigated. My investigations reveal that the Jutul-Penck Graben system on the Dronning Maud Land plays a significant role in erosion, transport, and deposition of sedimentary material. I further found seismic chimney structures in this region for the first time and attribute their formation to volcanic processes.
|Keywords:||paleobathymetric reconstruction, seismic reflection data, ocean circulation, sediment drifts, mass transport deposits, backstripping||Issue Date:||17-Nov-2015||URN:||urn:nbn:de:gbv:46-00104853-13||Institution:||Universität Bremen||Faculty:||FB5 Geowissenschaften|
|Appears in Collections:||Dissertationen|
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