Glacial and postglacial sedimentation in the Fryxell basin, Taylor Valley, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica

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A 9.14 m long sediment sequence was recovered from Lake Fryxell, Taylor Valley, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, and investigated for its chronology and sedimentological, mineralogical, and biogeochemical changes. The basal part of the sequence is dominated by coarse clastic matter, i.e., mainly sand. The sediment composition suggests that a lake existed in Fryxell basin during the Middle Weichselian by ca. 48,000 cal. year BP. After a short period of lake-level lowstand ca. 43,000 cal. year BP, lower Taylor Valley became occupied by the proglacial Lake Washburn, which was at least partly supplied by meltwater and sediments from the Ross Ice Sheet that was advanced to the mouth of Taylor Valley. Evaporation of Lake Washburn to lower levels started during the Last Glacial Maximum at ca. 22,000 cal. year BP, long before the Ross Ice Sheet retreated significantly. Lake-level lowering was discontinuous with a series of high and low stands. From ca. 4000 cal. year BP environmental conditions were similar to those of today and lower Fryxell basin was occupied by a small lake. This lake evaporated to a saline or hypersaline pond between ca. 2500 and 1000 cal. year BP and refilled subsequently. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

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