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The relative percentages of diatom taxa in 5 deep-sea cores (DSDP 266, ODP 699A, ODP 747A, ODP 751A, and Eltanin Core 50-28) from the Southern Ocean are determined for an interval centered on 3.1 to 2.9 Ma in the middle part of the Pliocene. This climatically warm interval, which is being studied by the PRISM Project of the U.S. Geological Survey, coincides with a proposed interval of major deglaciation of East Antarctica. The maximum southerly position of the Antarctic Polar Front between 3.1 and 3.0 Ma is inferred from these diatom studies, the presence of calcareous nannofossils in the sediments, and sedimentologic and micropaleontologic information from the literature. It is suggested that the Antarctic Polar Front may have migrated by as much as 6?? of latitude further to the south in the southeastern Atlantic and Indian Oceans during this Pliocene warm interval but probably lay close to its present day position in the southwest Atlantic and Drake Passage. Summer sea surface temperatures are inferred to have been no more than 3??-4??C warmer than present at latitudes between 55?? and 60??S. ?? 1996 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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Diatom constraints on the position of the Antarctic Polar Front in the middle part of the Pliocene