Preservation of Miocene glacier ice in East Antarctica

David E. Sugden, David R. Marchant, Noel Potter, Roland A. Souchez, George H. Denton, Carl Swisher, Jean Louis Tison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

192 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate during the Pliocene has been the subject of considerable debate. One view holds that, during part of the Pliocene, East Antarctica was largely free of glacier ice and that vegetation survived on the coastal mountains1-4. An alternative viewpoint argues for the development of a stable polar ice sheet by the middle Miocene, which has persisted since then5-10. Here we report the discovery of buried glacier ice in Beacon valley, East Antarctica, which appears to have survived for at least 8.1 million years. We have dated the ice by 40Ar/39Ar analysis of volcanic ash in the thin, overlying glacial till which, we argue, has undergone little (if any) reworking. Isotope and crystal fabric analyses of the ice show that it was derived from an ice sheet. We suggest that stable polar conditions must have persisted in this region for at least 8.1 million years for this ice to have avoided sublimation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-414
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume376
Issue number6539
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 3 1995
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

glacier
Miocene
ice
ice sheet
Pliocene
sublimation
volcanic ash
reworking
Antarctica
isotope
crystal
valley
vegetation
climate

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Sugden, D. E., Marchant, D. R., Potter, N., Souchez, R. A., Denton, G. H., Swisher, C., & Tison, J. L. (1995). Preservation of Miocene glacier ice in East Antarctica. Nature, 376(6539), 412-414. https://doi.org/10.1038/376412a0
Sugden, David E. ; Marchant, David R. ; Potter, Noel ; Souchez, Roland A. ; Denton, George H. ; Swisher, Carl ; Tison, Jean Louis. / Preservation of Miocene glacier ice in East Antarctica. In: Nature. 1995 ; Vol. 376, No. 6539. pp. 412-414.
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Sugden, DE, Marchant, DR, Potter, N, Souchez, RA, Denton, GH, Swisher, C & Tison, JL 1995, 'Preservation of Miocene glacier ice in East Antarctica', Nature, vol. 376, no. 6539, pp. 412-414. https://doi.org/10.1038/376412a0

Preservation of Miocene glacier ice in East Antarctica. / Sugden, David E.; Marchant, David R.; Potter, Noel; Souchez, Roland A.; Denton, George H.; Swisher, Carl; Tison, Jean Louis.

In: Nature, Vol. 376, No. 6539, 03.08.1995, p. 412-414.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Sugden DE, Marchant DR, Potter N, Souchez RA, Denton GH, Swisher C et al. Preservation of Miocene glacier ice in East Antarctica. Nature. 1995 Aug 3;376(6539):412-414. https://doi.org/10.1038/376412a0