The Role Of Cenozoic Floods In West Antarctica

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West Antarctica is largely characterized by a rift system that produced episodic crustal extension since the Mesozoic (Behrendt and Cooper, 1991; Dalziel and Lawver, 2001; Licht et al., 2005). Cretaceous-Cenozoic rifting provided the rock record with alkaline basaltic rocks which is a result of down-faulting in the Ross Embayment which accelerated rift-shoulder uplift (Le Masurier and, 1991; Behrendt et al., 1991; Licht et al., 2005). As a result of rifting in the mid-Cretaceous to the Cenozoic a small basin formed which contains up to 600m of eroded material, including glacially transported Transantarctic Mountains sourced rocks and primary marine deposition (Rooney et al., 1991; Scherer et al., 1998). Subglacial rocks in the rift are interbedded volcanic and siliciclastic sedimentary units that eroded from the rift flanks and diatom rich sediment (Licht et al., 2005; Rooney et al., 1991; Scherer et al., 1998). A study by Behrendt and others (1991) revealed evidence of Cenozoic flood basalts, which overlie the previously mentioned unit that is Oligocene and younger glacial marine sediment. This unit is about 600 meters thick with an upper 20 meters that is similar to Plio-Pleistocene tills (Licht et al.,…show more content…
This rifting lead to deposition of the marine component that is overlain by the meters thick deformation till layer that contains evidence of these deposits mixed from different ages which is likely result of glacial influence (Scherer, 1991; Blankenship et al., 1987; Rooney,

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