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A greatly expanded section of Holocene sediment was recovered at Site NBP0602-8 in the Firth of Tay near the tip of the West Antarctic Peninsula during the SHALDRIL II cruise aboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer, 2006. Recovery in the four holes at this site was ~85%, with the exception of the uppermost eight meters of water saturated sediments. The next year the site was revisited during Cruise NBP0703 and a jumbo piston core (JPC 02) recovered sediment to 23 meters below seafloor to fill missing gaps in the upper section. Fossil diatoms have been proven to be highly useful in paleontological climate reconstruction. Therefore, this investigation is a down-core quantitative study of diatom assemblages from this Firth of Tay sequence to identify and constrain changes in paleoenvironmental events. The project provides evidence of an early deglaciation episode, the Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum, and subsequent cooling and Neoglacial conditions that persist until the present. The Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum delineated in this study correlates closely with the timing and duration of this event in Maxwell Bay, to the north. The same event is recorded in Palmer Deep on the opposite (west) side of the Antarctic Peninsula but with an earlier onset and longer duration. The Climatic Optimum recorded at the Firth of Tay is less pronounced than at the other two sites, however, due to the colder water stemming from the Weddell Sea Gyre.
Antarctic Peninsula, Firth of Tay Diatom, Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum
Date of Defense
May 3, 2010.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Geology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Sherwood W. Wise, Professor Directing Thesis; Anthony J. Arnold, Committee Member; Joseph F. Donoghue, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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