Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-111
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-111

  07 Sep 2021

07 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

The De Long Trough: defining the mineralogical signature of the East Siberian Ice Sheet

Raisa Maria Hannele Alatarvas1, Matthew O'Regan2, and Kari Olavi Strand1 Raisa Maria Hannele Alatarvas et al.
  • 1Oulu Mining School, University of Oulu, Oulu, 90570, Finland
  • 2Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, 106 91, Sweden

Abstract. The Arctic's glacial history has classically been interpreted from marine records in terms of the fluctuations of the Eurasian and North American ice sheets. However, the existence, size, and timing of the East Siberian Ice Sheet (ESIS) remains highly uncertain. A recently discovered glacially scoured cross-shelf trough extending to the edge of the continental shelf north of the De Long Islands has provided additional evidence that glacial ice existed on parts of the East Siberian Sea (ESS) during previous glacial periods (MIS 6 and 4). This study concentrates on defining the mineralogical signature and dynamics of the ESIS. Sediment materials from the East Siberian shelf and slope were collected during the 2014 SWERUS-C3 expedition. The cores studied are 20-GC1 from the East Siberian shelf, 23-GC1 and 24-GC1 from the De Long Trough (DLT), and 29-GC1 from the southern Lomonosov Ridge (LR). Heavy mineral assemblages were used to identify prominent parent rocks in hinterland and other sediment source areas. The parent rocks areas include major eastern Siberian geological provinces such as the Omolon massif, the Chukotka Fold Belt, the Verkhoyansk Fold Belt, and possibly the Okhotsk–Chukotka Volcanic Belt. The primary riverine sources for the ESS sediments are the Indigirka and Kolyma rivers, which material then was glacially eroded and re-deposited in the DLT. The higher abundances of hornblendes in the heavy mineral assemblages may indicate ESS paleovalley of the Indigirka river as a major pathway of sediments, while the Kolyma river paleovalley pathway relates to a higher share of pyroxenes and epidote. Mineralogical signature in the DLT diamicts, consisting predominantly of amphiboles and pyroxenes with minor content of garnet and epidote, show clear delivery from the eastern sector of the ESIS. Although the physical properties of the DLT basal diamict closely resemble a pervasive diamict unit recovered across the southern LR, their source material is slightly different according to their heavy mineral content. Assemblages with elevated amphibole and garnet content, along with higher titanite and ilmenite content from core 29-GC1 from the southern LR emphasise the Verkhoyansk Fold Belt as a possible source. This suggests that glacial ice not only grew out from the East Siberian shelf, but also from the New Siberian Islands and westerly sources due to the dynamics in the ice flow and deposition. An increase in the iron oxides in the sediments overlying the diamicts relates to the deglaciation cycle of the ESIS when the central plateau, or at least the shoreline and river discharge region, were possibly free from ice, and the reworking as well as enrichment of iron oxides was possible. This indicates sea-ice rather than iceberg transport for the present distal shelf sediments.

Raisa Maria Hannele Alatarvas et al.

Status: open (extended)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-111', Ruediger Stein, 13 Oct 2021 reply

Raisa Maria Hannele Alatarvas et al.

Raisa Maria Hannele Alatarvas et al.

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Short summary
In defining the mineralogical signature and distribution of the East Siberian Ice Sheet (ESIS), heavy mineral assemblages were used to identify prominent parent rocks in hinterland and other source areas. Mineralogical signature in the De Long Trough sediments show clear delivery from the eastern sector of the ESIS. Assemblages from the southern Lomonosov Ridge suggests that glacial ice not only grew out from the East Siberian shelf, but also from the New Siberian Islands and westerly sources.