The Pliocene environment of Antarctica

Quilty, PG 1996 , 'The Pliocene environment of Antarctica' , Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, vol. 130, no. 2 , pp. 1-8 , doi: https://doi.org/10.26749/rstpp.130.2.1.

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Debate continues about the environment of Antarctica during intervals in the Pliocene (5.2-1.8 Ma), particularly during the Late Pliocene (3.5-1.8 Ma). Two schools of thought - dynamic versus stable ice sheet - have developed. One hypothesis calls for the Antarctic ice sheet to vary dramatically, for Antarctica at times to be vegetated and for circum-antarctic waters to be significandywarmer than at present.
The other calls for a stable ice sheet, no vegetation and water temperatures much less varied. During 1995, the two sides converged by recognising that the change to conditions suitable for vegetation may not have been as marked as originally thought, and that oxygen isotope data may contain scope for more flexibility in interpretation than the stabilist view has supported. New data and new participants
have emerged, but there is a long way to go in resolving the issue.
The key issue remains the age of the Sirius Group in the Transantarctic Mountains and the source of its contained diatoms. Diatoms of Pliocene age have been recovered from the Sirius Group but also from modern ice, and this raises the question of whether the Sirius Group diatoms are actually in situ.
New data and re-evaluation of existing data are necessary. Ocean Drilling Program activity, particularly in the Prydz Bay region, and analysis of samples from the Prince Charles Mountains can be expected to contribute significantly to a solution, by providing more information on past temperatures and evidence of possible terrestrial vegetation.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Quilty, PG
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
ISSN: 0080-4703
DOI / ID Number: https://doi.org/10.26749/rstpp.130.2.1
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
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