Brehme, I (1992): Sedimentology of the northwestern Weddel Sea continental shelf and slope. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.782551, Supplement to:Brehme, Isa (1992): Sedimentfazies und Bodenwasserstrom am Kontinentalhang des nordwestlichen Weddellmeeres (Sediment facies and bottomwater current on the continental slope in the northwestern Weddell Sea). Berichte zur Polarforschung = Reports on Polar Research, 110, 127 pp, hdl:10013/epic.10110
Geologie cores on two profiles oriented normaly to the continental shelf and slope, have been investigated to reconstruct the Quaternary sedimentary history of the southeast continental border of South Orkney (NW Weddell Sea). The sediments were described macroscopically and their fabric investigated by use of X-radiographs. Laboratory work comprised detailed grain-size analysis, determination of the watercontent, carbonate, organic carbon and sand fraction.composition. Stable oxygen and carbon isotopes have been measured On planktonic foraminifera. Palaeomagnetism, analysis of 230Th-content and detailed comparison of the lithlogic Parameters with the oxygen isotope stages (Martinson curve) were used for stratigraphic classification of the sediments.
The sediment cores from the continental slope comprise a maximum age of 300,000 years B. P.. Bottom currents, ice rafting and biogenic input are the main sources of sediment. Based on lithologic parameters a distinction between glacial and interglacial facies is possible. Silty clays without microfossils and few bioturbation characterise the sediments of the glacial facies. Only small amounts of icerafted debris can be recognized. This type of sediment was accumulated during times of lower sea-level and drastically reduced rate of bottom water production. Based on grain-size distribution, bottom current velocities of 0.01 cmls were calculated. Thick sea-ice coverage reduced biogenic production in the surface water, and as consequence benthic communities were depleted. Because of the reduced benthic life, sediments are only slithly bioturbated. At the beginning of the interglacial Stage, the sea-level rised rapidly, and calving rate of icebergs, combined with input of ice-rafted material, increased considerably. Sediments of this transition facies are silty cliiys with a high proportion of coarse ice-rafted debris, but without microfossils. With the onset of bottom water production in connection with shelf ice water, sediments of interglacial facies were formed. They consist of silty clays to clayey silts with considerable content of sand and gravel. Sediments are strongly bioturbated. Based On the sediment caracteristics, current velocities of the bottom water were calculated to be of 0.96 cmls for interglacials. At the southern slope of a NW/SE-striking ridge, bottom water current is channelized, resulting in a drastic increase of current velocities. Current velocities up to 7.5 cm/s lead to formation of residual sediments.
While the continental slope has predominantly fine sediments, the South Orkney shelf are mainly sandy silts and silty sands with a high proportion of gravel. These sediments were formed dominantly by ice-rafting during Brunhes- and Matuyama-Epoch. Currents removed the fine fraction of the sediments. Based on microfossil contents it was not possible to differentiate sediments from glacial to interglacial. In the upper Parts of the cores graded sequences truncated by erosion were observed. These sequences were formed during Brunhes-Epoch by strong currents with velocities decreasing periodically from about 7.5 cm/s to about 1 cm/s. Sediments with a high proportion of siliceous microfossils but barren of foraminifera compose the lower part of the shelf cores. These sediments have formed during the warmer Matuyama-Epoch.