Seismic facies and stratigraphy of the Cenozoic succession in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica: Implications for tectonic, climatic and glacial history

Open-File Report 2007-1047-SRP-090

, , , , and
DOI: 10.3133/ofr20071047SRP090


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS


A new stratigraphic model is presented for the evolution of the Cenozoic Victoria Land Basin of the West Antarctic Rift, based on integration of seismic reflection and drilling data. The Early Rift phase (?latest Eocene to Early Oligocene) comprises wedges of strata confined by early extensional faults, and which contain seismic facies consistent with drainage via coarse-grained fans and deltas into discrete, actively subsiding grabens and half-grabens. The Main Rift phase (Early Oligocene to Early Miocene) comprises a lens of strata that thickens symmetrically from the basin margins into a central depocenter, and in which stratal events pass continuously over the top of the Early Rift extensional topography. Internal seismic facies and lithofacies indicate a more organized, cyclical shallow marine succession, influenced increasingly upward by cycles of glacial advance and retreat into the basin. The Passive Thermal Subsidence phase (Early Miocene to ?) comprises an evenly distributed sheet of strata that does not thicken appreciably into the depocentre, with more evidence for clinoform sets and large channels. These patterns are interpreted to record accumulation under similar environmental conditions but in a regime of slower subsidence. The Renewed Rifting phase (? to Recent, largely unsampled by coring thus far) has been further divided into 1, a lower interval, in which the section thickens passively towards a central depocentre, and 2. an upper interval, in which more dramatic thickening patterns are complicated by magmatic activity. The youngest part of the stratigraphy was accumulated under the influence of flexural loading imposed by the construction of large volcanic edifices, and involved minimal sediment supply from the western basin margin, suggesting a change in environmental (glacial) conditions at possibly c. 2 Ma.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Seismic facies and stratigraphy of the Cenozoic succession in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica: Implications for tectonic, climatic and glacial history
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
4 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World--Online Proceedings for the Tenth International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.--August 26 to September 1, 2007
Other Geospatial:
Additional Online Files (Y/N):