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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 2002-03: VUWAE 47



Two key results of the survey include:
  • water column data that show the prevailing tidal nature of the sub-ice shelf flow, but with a net inflow from McMurdo Sound into Windless Bight. The temperature/salinity structure is very similar to site J9, suggesting continuity of water masses beneath the entire ice shelf, with McMurdo Sound being another possible point of inflow.
  • Cores penetrated a thin Holocene mud blanket overlying soft diamicton recording the retreat of the ice that filled McMurdo Sound until around 6000 years ago.

The lack of sediment compaction indicated by 3.5 kHz penetration to 300 m bsf shows that water was deep enough not to have grounded ice during the Last Glacial Maximum (or for previous such events for perhaps as much as a million years or more). These data indicate that the basin contains a long and continuous record of the presence, absence and (near) grounding of the Ross Ice Shelf over the last million years or more. One of ANDRILL's goals is to core this record.

Further work on the oceanographic data will help understand the origins and maintenance of oceanic circulation under the present global climate regime. It will also help in designing ANDRILL's deep coring system, with deployment planned for 2005-06.