Strides made in understanding Antarctic stratigraphy and Cenozoic glacial history



It is known that the Antarctic ice sheet greatly affected global climate, sea-level, ocean circulation, and Southern Hemisphere biota during Cenozoic times, but until recently, how remained largely a mystery. Because few Cenozoic rocks are exposed on the Antarctic continent, the only way to investigate the evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet was through isotopic studies on distant deep-ocean sediments. The success of these studies was limited—isotopic studies and low-latitude sea level variation yielded different glacial ice volumes.

To take study of Cenozoic Antarctic glaciations and their effects a step further, the Antarctic Offshore Acoustic Stratigraphy project (ANTOSTRAT) assembled a contingent of geoscientists from over 100 institutions in 32 countries. Since 1989, they have compiled and analyzed offshore acoustic and geologic data from the Antarctic continental margin, amassing over 150,000 km of multichannel seismic reflection data, tens of thousands of kilometers of single-channel, high-resolution seismic data, and over 1000 cores.