A sediment sequence recovered from the Vega Drift, Antarctica was analyzed for benthic foraminifera to
determine Holocene oceanographic and climatic variability of the northern Antarctic Peninsula margin. Core
NBP0003-JPC38, collected during cruise 00-03 of the R.V. Nathaniel B. Palmer recovered 20.53 meters of Holocene
glacio-marine sediments. Samples were collected every 4 cm for foraminiferal analyses. The data were analyzed using
principal component and cluster analyses. Results of these analyses show significant stratigraphic changes in the
benthic foraminiferal record of the Vega Drift.
Three assemblages characterize the core, including the Miliammina arenacea, Textulariawiesneri, and Stainforthia
fusiformis assemblages. Most agglutinated forms tend to decrease downcore, and comparisons to modern analogues
imply post-depositional disintegration, while calcareous taxa indicate non-corrosive bottom waters. The lower to
middle Holocene Vega Drift sediments are characterized by the calcareous S. fusiformis assemblage and glacial plume
sediments. This assemblage is characterized by calcareous forms including Globocassidulina biora, G. subglobosa, and
Nonionella iridea. The planktic species Neogloboquadrina pachyderma is associated with the S. fusiformis assemblage.
The S. fusiformis assemblage is faunally similar to assemblages described in fjords of the western Antarctic Peninsula
and indicates non-corrosive bottom water. Sediments of the mid to upper Holocene interval are characterized by the T.
wiesneri and M. arenacea assemblages and indicate the presence of Hyper Saline Shelf Water. These assemblages are
similar to modern assemblages directly to the south in the Prince Gustav Channel. The upper Holocene is marked by
several small intervals with taxonomic characteristics similar to the S. fusiformis assemblage, indicating periodic
introduction of non-corrosive bottom water to the Vega Drift
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Holocene oceanographic and climatic variability of the Vega Drift deduced through foraminiferal interpretation
U.S. Geological Survey
Text: 4 p.; Plate: 36 p.
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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