Antarctic Science

Earth Sciences

The last deglaciation of Cape Adare, northern Victoria Land, Antarctica

Joanne S. Johnsona1 c1, Claus-Dieter Hillenbranda1, John L. Smelliea1 and Sergio Rocchia2

a1 British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK

a2 Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Pisa, Via S. Marie 53, 156126 Pisa, Italy


We present two 10Be exposure ages from erratic boulders at Cape Adare, northern Victoria Land. The exposure ages obtained suggest that Cape Adare was covered by ice during the last glacial period, and the younger age points to deglaciation around 16.2 ka. Comparison of our younger 10Be exposure age with published radiocarbon dates for Adélie penguin occupation at Cape Adare suggests that the onset of penguin colonization (at 2–3 kyr before present) lagged behind the deglaciation by at least 11.5 kyr. These observations indicate that penguin colonization did not occur until several thousand years after ice free ground became available.

(Received October 22 2007)

(Accepted April 03 2008)