Diatom biostratigraphy of the Cenozoic glaciomarine Pagodroma Group, northern Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica
Whitehead, JM and Harwood, DM and McKelvey, BC and Hambrey, MJ and McMinn, A, Diatom biostratigraphy of the Cenozoic glaciomarine Pagodroma Group, northern Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 51, (4) pp. 521-547. ISSN 0812-0099 (2004) [Refereed Article]
In the northern Prince Charles Mountains glociomarine sediments of the Pagodroma Group outcrop on Fisher Massif (Mt Johnston and Fisher Bench Formations) and at the Amery Oasis (Battye Glacier and Bardin Bluffs Formations), at locations 300 and 250 km south of the Amery Ice Shelf edge, respectively. Most of the Pagodroma Group consists of ice-proximal glaciomarine diamict, and a much subordinate ( <2%) amount of more ice-distal mudstone. Microfossil biostratigraphy based upon in situ and glacially reworked diatoms constrains the ages of the four formations, and identifies at least six intervals of marine fjordal deposition. Sparse diatoms in Mt Johnston Formation diamicts indicate an Early Oligocene age. However, it is unclear whether these diatoms are in situ or else are glacially reworked and represent either an immediately prior or more remote past interglacial. The Battye Glacier and Fisher Bench Formations contain in situ diatoms and are broadly time equivalent, the former dating between 10.7 and 9.0 Ma and the latter between 12.1 or 10.7 Ma and 8.5 Ma. In situ diatoms indicate the Bardin Bluffs Formation to have been deposited between 2.6 and either 1.8 or 0.99 Ma. Glacially reworked diatoms in the Bardin Bluffs and Fisher Bench Formations identify four depositional intervals. The reworked taxa are sourced from Eocene-Oligocene (>30.1 Ma), Middle Miocene (14.5-12.5 Ma and 12.1-11.5 Ma), Early Pliocene (4.9-3.6 Ma) and, tentatively, Late Pliocene (3.4-2.6 Ma) strata. These microfossil data further develop the interpretation that the Pagodroma Group formed during episodes of reduced glacial extent when, in the absence of an ice shelf, marine waters penetrated far southwards into the Lambert Graben of East Antarctica.