Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of
Date of this Version
Twenty-two erratics collected from coastal moraines along the shores of Mount Discovery, Brown Peninsula, Minna Bluff, on Black Island, and from the Salmon and Miers valley floors in East Antarctica were examined for their mineral composition in the <2 m fraction by x-ray diffraction to determine their provenance and the climate under which the sediment in the erratics formed. Semi-quantitative results from peak areas were subjected to principal components analysis and indicate that there are two distinct mineral compositions in the erratics (C = 0.05): A) dominant smectite group minerals, minor illite and kaolinite, and no chlorite, and B) dominant illite, subordinate smectite group, and either chlorite and R=l US clay or R=3 US clay. Group A erratics include two types: 1) Eocene age siliciclastic sediment and 2) volcaniclastics of unknown age. Group B erratics comprise three types: 1) Eocene age siliciclastic sediment dominated by illite with subordinate smectite, no chlorite, and very low levels of kaolinite and mixed-layer clays; 2) post Eocene age erratics dominated by illite with a major component of chlorite and R=l US clay, minor or no smectite and kaolinite; and 3) post Eocene age erratics dominated by illite and containing R=3 US clay. Eocene age sediment occurs in either group and so had two distinct provenances for the clay fraction: a smectite-dominant area and an illite-rich, smectite-poor area. Post Eocene age sediment also had two distinct provenances for the clay fraction and are different from the Eocene sources: a metamorphic + ancient sedimentary terrain that supplied chlorite, illite, and R=l US clay to some of the erratics, and a sedimentary terrain that supplied illite and R=3 US clay. Kaolinite levels are low, indicating the absence of intense weathering and/or any significant contribution from the Beacon Supergroup.
Published in PALEOBIOLOGY AND PALEOENVIRONMENTS OF EOCENE ROCKS, MCMURDO SOUND, EAST ANTARCTICA ANTARCTIC RESEARCH SERIES VOLUME 76, PAGES 63-72. Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union 63. Used by permission.