Holocene environmental change in a marine-estuarine-lacustrine sediment sequence, King George Island, South Shetland Islands
Sedimentological features and cluster analysis of diatom assemblages were used to investigate a local Holocene prograding sequence of marine-estuarine-lacustrine sediments. It consists of upward finning and thinning sediment cycles formed at the mouth of a meltwater stream during regional isostatic uplift, which followed early Holocene deglaciation and marine inundation events. The sequence begins in the lower Holocene sublittoral sand (marine diatoms and abundant molluscs) overlying, with a transgressive base, the deltic (?) clastic sediment marking probably one of the pre-Holocene interglacial periods (index diatom Actinocyclus ingens suggests an age >0.62 Ma). The lower Holocene marine sand was truncated by middle Holocene gravity flows, bearing volcanic ash. They were deposited in a high energy estuarine environment (brackish diatoms). The beach subsequently formed separated the estuary from the sea and changed it into a freshwater lake. Accumulation of moss and gyttja, containing a freshwater diatom assemblage, marks the final late Holocene stage of this coastal sedimentary sequence, which can be considered as typical for deglaciation periods in the maritime Antarctic.(Received January 21 1996)
(Accepted July 18 1996)
Key Words: Antarctica; diatoms; Holocene; lakes; sedimentology.