Polarforschung 62 (2/3): 129-144, 1992 (erschienen 1994) Recent and Subrecent Marine Sediments of the N orth- Western Weddell Sea and the Bransfield Strait, Antarctica By Georg TrolIt**, Dietmar Matthies*, Alfons Hofstetter** and Wolfgang Skeries*** Summary: The raw material for these investigations are sampies from marine (sub)smface sediments around the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula. They had been sampled in the years 1981 to 1986 during several expeditions of the research vessels Meteor, Polarstern and Walther Herwig, 83 box core, gravity core and dredge sampies from the area of the Bransfield Strait, the Powell Basin and the northern Weddell Sea have been examined for their grain-size distribution, their mineralogieal and petrographieal composition. Silt prevails and its clay proportions exceed 25% wt, in water depths greater than 2000 m. The granulometrical results reveal some typical sedimentation processes within the area of investigation. While turbiditic processes together with sediment input from melting icebergs control the sedimentation in the Weddell Sea, the South Orkney Island Plateau and the Po weil Basin, the fine grained material from Bransfield Strait mainly relies on marine currents in the shelf area. In addition, the direct sediment input of coarse shelf sediments from the Bransfield Strait into the Powell Basin through submarine canyons eould be proven. Variations in the grain-size eomposition with sedirnent depth are smalI. The mineral composition of the clay and fine silt fractions is quite uniform in all sarnples. There are (in decreasing order): illite, montmorillonite, chlorite, smectite, mi xe d-Iayers, as weil as detrital quartz and feldspars. A petrographically based sediment stratigraphy can be established in using the considerable changes in the chlorite- and Ca-plagioclase portions in samples from Core 224. For this sedimentation area a mean sedimentation rate of 7 cm /I 000 a is assumed. Remarkable changes in the portions of amorphous silica components - diatom skeletons and volcanic glass shards - appear all over the area of investigation. They contribute between 4-83 % to the clay and fine silt fraction. Several provinces according to the heavy mineral assemblages in the fine sand fraction can be distinguished: (i) a province remarkably influenced by minerals of volcanic origin south and north of the South Shetland Islands; (ii) a small strip with sediment dominated by plutonie material along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and (iii) a sediment eontrolled by metamorphie minerals and rock fragments in the area of the Weddell Sea and Elephant Island. While taking the whole grain-size spectrum into account a more comprehensive interpretation can be given: the accessoric but distinct appearance of tourmaline, rutile and zircon in the heavy mineral assembly along the northwestern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula is in agreement with the occurrence of acid volcanic rock pieces in the coarse fraction of the ice load detritus in this region, In the vicinity of the South Shetland Islands chlorite appears in remarkable portions in the clay fraction in combination with leucoxene, sphene and olivine, and pumice as weil as pyroclastic rocks in the medium and coarse grain fractions, respectively. Amphiboles and arnphibole-schists are dominant on the South Orkney Island Plateau. In the sediments of the northwestern Weddell Sea the heavy mineral phases of red spinei, gamet, kyanite and sillimanite in connection with medium to highgrade metamorphie rocks especially granulitic gneisses, are more abundant. A good conformity between the ice rafted rock sampIes and the rocks in the island outcrops could be proven, especially in the vicinity of offshore islands nearby. On the continent enrichments of rock societies and groups appear in spacious outlines: acid effusive rocks in the west of the ice divide on the Antarctic Peninsula, clastic sedimentites at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and granoblastic gneis ses in central and eastern Antarctica. Dr. DietmarMatthies, Lehrstuhlfür forstlicheArbeitswissenschaften und angewandte Informatik,Hohenbachemstrasse 22, D-85354 Freising. ** Prof. Dr.Georg Troll(deceased 5'" September1991)and Dr.AlfonsHofstetter, Institut für Mineralogie u. Petrographie der Universität, Theresienstr. 41, D-80333 München. Wolfgang Skeries, Institut für optische Gesteinsbestimmung, Richard-StraußStr. 89, D-81679 Müncheu. Manuscriptreceived 31 March 1993; accepted 31 January 1994 H* Dr. Coarse grain detritus with more than I cm of diameter must have been rafted by icebergs. These rock fragments are classified as rock types, groups and societies. The spacial distribution of their statistically determined weight relations evidently shows the paths of the iceberg drift and in nexus with already known iceberg routes also point to the possible areas of provenance, provided that the density of sampie locations and the number of rock pieces are sufficient. Zusammenfassung: Gegenstand dieser Untersuchungen waren marine Oberflächensedimentproben vom nördlichen Teil der Antarktischen Halbinsel. Sie wurden während mehrerer Expeditionen der Forschungsschiffe Meteor; Polarstern und Walther Herwig in den Jahren von 1981 bis 1986 gewonnen. 83 Kastengreifer-, Schwerelot- und Dredgeproben aus dem Gebiet der Bransfield-Straße, dem Powell-Becken und dem nördlichen Weddellmeer wurden hinsichtlich ihrer Korngrößenzusammensetzung, ihrer mineralogischen und petrographischen Bestandteile untersucht. Es handelt sich überwiegend um Silte, deren Tonanteile in Wassertiefen größer als 2000 m auf über 25 Gew.-% ansteigen. Anhand der granulometrisehen Befunde konnten einige typische Sedimentationsprozesse identifiziert werden. Der Sedimenteintrag in das Weddellmeer, dem South-Orkney-Inselplateau und dem Powell-Becken geschieht überwiegend durch Turbidite und abschmelzende Eisberge. Feinkörniges Material in der Bransfield-Straße wurde durch Meeresströmungen im Schelfgebiet eingetragen. Darüber hinaus konnte der direkte Sedimenteintrag aus der Bransfield-Straße in das Powell-Becken über submarine Canyons nachgewiesen werden. Die mineralogische Zusammensetzung der Ton- und Feinsiltfraktion aller Proben ist sehr einheitlich. Es handelt sich in abnehmender Reihenfolge um Illit, Montmorillonit, Chlorit, Smektit, Mixed Layers, sowie Quarz und Feldspat. Aufgrund deutlich unterschiedlicher Anteile von Chlorit und Ca-Plagioklas kann eine sedimentstratigraphische Unterteilung des Kemes 224 getroffen werden. Für dieses Sedimentationsgebiet wird eine mittlere Sedimentationsrate von 7 crnJ 1000 Jahre angenommen. Amorphe Kieselsäurekomponenten wie Diatomeenskelette und vulkanische Gesteinsgläser machen zwischen 4 und 83 % der Ton- und Feinsiltfraktion aus. Aufgrund der Schwermineralvergesellschaftungen in der Feinsandfraktion können mehrere Provinzen ausgeschieden werden; (l) südlich und nördlich der South-Shetland-Inseln eine Vergesellschaftung überwiegend vulkanischen Ursprungs; (2) ein schmaler Streifen plutonisch dornierten Materials entlang der westlichen Küste der Antarktischen Halbinsel und schließlich (3) überwiegend metamorphe Minerale im Gebiet der Elephant-Insel und des Weddellmeeres. Unter Berücksichtigung des gesamten Komgrößenspektrums kann eine umfassende Interpretation erfolgen. Das akzessorische, jedoch deutliche Auftreten von Turmalin, Rutil und Zirkon in der Schwermineralfraktion entlang der nordwestlichen Küste der antarktischen Halbinsel steht im Einklang mit der Präsenz von saueren vulkanischen Gesteinsbruchstücken in der Grobkomfraktion des Eisfrachtdetritus in dieser Region. In der Nähe der South-Shetland-Inseln erscheint in bemerkenswertem Umfange Chlorit in der Tonfraktion in Verbindung mit Leukoxen, Olivin und Bimsstein sowie pyroklastischen Gesteinen in der Mittel- und Grobkomfraktion. Amphibole und Amphibolschiefer herrschen auf dem South-Orkney-Island-Plateau vor, In den Sedimenten des nordwestlichen Weddellmeeres treten häufig die Schwerminerale roter Spinell, Granat, Kyanit und Sillimanit in Verbindung mit mittel- bis hochmetamorphen Gesteinen, insbesondere granulitisehen Gneisen, auf. Desweiteren besteht eine gute Übereinstimmung zwischen den Gesteinsaufschlüssen auf den Inseln und den eistransportierten Gesteinsproben. 129 Gesteinsfragmente von mehr als I cm Größe, die nur in der Sedimentfracht von Eisbergen transportiert sein können, wurden in Gesteinstypen, -gruppen und -gesellschaften unterteilt. Ihre räumliche Verteilung gibt eindeutige Hinweise auf Eisbergdriftwege und erlaubt im Zusammenhang mit bereits bekannten Eisbergstraßen Rückschlüsse auf mögliche Liefergebiete. INTRODUCTION In modern geosciences Arctic as weIl as Antarctic areas serve for the investigation of short and long-term changes in the global meteorological history. This mainly relies on the preserving effect of the polar ice caps and the lack of major anthropogenie impacts. Beside glacial records also limnetic and marine sediments hold important information, which can help to enlight the meteorology of the past. The detailed knowledge of the mineralogical composition of the clay and fine silt fraction in space (lateral) and time (vertical) forms the basis for further interpretations concerning the climatical and sedimentological history of the Antarctic (GROBE 1986). This paper gives a comprehensive petrological description of the marine sediments of the northwestern Weddell Sea, the Powell Basin, South Orkney Island Plateau and the Bransfield Strait, respectively. While looking to the total grain-size spectra and the petrological composition, which are in close relationship to each other, a reconstruction of the sedimentation conditions as 70 60 well as the stratigraphieal position of the sediment samples becomes possible. Moreover, some aspects ofthe geological setting of the hinterland can be deduced from the coarse grain and heavy mineral fractions. This is of utmost importance because of the lack of outcrops in this region. The discussion about the age of the sediment core sampies from the Bransfield Strait should contribute to a better understanding of the most recent climatic and glacial history in this region. The area of investigation (Fig. 1) extends from 57° to 66° latitude south and 38° to 67° longitude west, and covers an area of about 2,000,000 km", The sea floor topography is quite well known and will, therefore, be described only very briefly. From a geographical point of view the investigated area can be subdivided into three sub-areas, of which the Bransfield Strait forms the southern part, the Powell Basin the middle, and the Weddell Sea the northern part. The Bransfield Strait has an extension of about 1000 km and a width between 100 and 150 km. Several elongated basins subdivide the sea floor. Powell Basin follows to the East and is a structure which opens towards the Weddell Sea, while it is limited in the North by a submarine Andine orogenie belt. The area of investigation is documented by 83 sampling stations, which cover the shelf as well as the deep-sea area. The sampies 40 50 • 60 60 65 65 pe pe 70 60 50 o km 500 40 Fig. 1: Geographical distribution of all sampIes investigated. Dashed line indicates 1000 m bathymetric contourline. Abb. 1: Verteilung der Probenstationen. Gestrichelte Linie beschreibt die 1000 m Tiefenlinie. 130 were delivered during the cruises of the research vessels Meteor, Polarstern and Walther Herwig, The geographical positions of the stations, the water depths and the sampling techniques are reported elsewhere. Fig. I shows the geographical distribution of the stations. Fig. 2 depicts the drift of larger icebergs (>60 krn-) within this area. Data from satellite images (Naval Polar Oceanographic Center) of the years from 1977 to 1986 form its basis. It is assumed that the marine catchment area for the icebergs and their ice rafted detritus lies within 102 0 Wand 0 0 • The terrestrial catchment area for the ice rafted detritus which envelopes the Weddell Sea, has an areal extension of about 3,500,000 km-. The knowledge of these drift paths is of great significance for the discussion of sedimentation processes and transport paths in marine Antarctic regions. Information on the drift paths are given by HOEBER et al. (1987) and LAxoN et al. (1992). Grain-sire analysis In order to separate the grain-size fractions greater than 0.063 mm the sampIes were wet sieved and fractionated into the grainsize fractions 0.063-0.2 mm (fine sand), 0.2-0.63 mm (sand), 0.63-2 mm (coarse sand), and 2-6.3 mm (fine gravel). The ATTERBERG sedimentation method was used for the fractions smaller than 0.063 mm. Koagulation phenomena were eliminated by the use of Hp dist. A comparative study with a sedigraph (GROBE 1986) revealed a good agreement with our results obtained by the sedimentation method. Heavy mineral analysis MATERIAL AND METHODS For the heavy mineral analysis the sampIes were wet sieved through a 0.1 mm screen to separate the fine sand (0.-0.2 mm) and very fine sand (0.63-0.1 mm) fractions present in each sampIe. All sampIes were taken during several cruises of RV Meteor (M 56/3,1981), RV Polarstern (ANT-II13, 1983; ANT IIII2,1984; ANT III/3,1985; ANT IVI2, 1985), and RV Walter Herwig (Cruise 68/2,1985). Fine and medium grained material derived from gravity and box cores, while the coarse detritus was sampled by means of dredges and box cores, The sampIes were transported and stared in a cold store. The very fine sand fraction and the fine sand fraction were chosen as the size intervals to be investigated because they commonly contained the highest percentage of heavy minerals, and they do not cause any optical problems. The two fractions were split into heavy and light mineral assemblages by the use of an aqueous sodium poly-tungstenate solution (3 Na ZW04 x 9 W0 3 X Hp, density 2.95 g/cm'). The heavy fractions of all sampIes 70 60 50 40 60 60 6S ...... \ 65 ~."" \1 pe 70 60 50 km 500 pe 40 Fig. 2: Drift paths of larger icebergs (>60 km') in the years between 1977 and 1986 based on satellite data from Naval Polar Oceanographic Center. Abb. 2: Driftwege größerer Eisberge (>60 km') nach Satellitenaufnahmen des Naval Polar Oceanographic Center aus den Jahren 1977 bis 1986. 131 were mounted on slides using Lakeside (n = 1.54). A polarisation microscope was used to identify and count 200 heavy minerals in each of the two fine sand-size fractions of each sample. According to BOENIGK (1983) the reliability of mineral percentages based on a count of 400 grains/sample should vary from 1.7-5.0 %, depending on the percentage of a given mineral constituent in the sample, Dropstone analysis The qualitative determination of most of the dropstone specimen is ensured by their megascopic features. Carbonatic rocks were separated into calcitic and dolomitic types by means of diluted acid (2-5 %). Some magmatic specimens were stained selectively for potassium-feldspar. The relative amount of minerals from some magmatic rocks was determined by point counting under the microscope. All quantitative data reparted on rock groups and societies are given in weigth percentages. Sampling locations in close vicinity to each other (offshore <50 km, in the open sea <150 km) are treated as one sample, Petrology The mineralogical composition of the clay fraction was determined by an X-ray diffractometer (PHILIPS, Cu ka, 40 kV and 20 mA). The detrital minerals in the coarser fraction were microscopicallyexamined. In order to analyse the amount of amorphous silica in the fine grain fractions, mainly biogenic opal, a selective solubility procedure was used. This wet chemical method relies on the different solubility resistances of amorphous silica and crystalline components in highly concentrated sodium solutions (MATIHlES & TROLL 1987). RESULTS Granulometry The investigated marine surface sediments are mostly silts with varying amounts of clay and sand (Fig. 3 ). Sampies from watel' depths deeper than 2000 m contain more than 25 % clay. Beside 34 surface samples from box core two additional gravity cares with 13 (Care 224) and 12 samples (Core 278) were examined for grain-size composition (Tab. 1). The grain-size SILT SILT CLAY 8 = sandy si s i lty t clayey S sand Si silt T = clay CLAY 90 75 50 2S Fig. 3: Grain-size classification system according to FÜCHTBAUER & Abb. 3: Komgrößenklassifikationsschema nach 132 FÜCHTBAUER & MÜLLER MÜLLER (1970). (1970). 10 SAND sampIe clay silt sand A Core 224 17 cm 35 cm 62cm 90cm 193 cm 255 cm 301 cm 334 cm 432cm 485 cm 540cm 582cm 648 cm 42 46 48 50 55 52 50 37 47 54 42 49 48 43 45 38 33 41 44 42 48 39 34 38 34 40 15 9 14 17 4 4 8 15 14 12 20 17 12 mean: 48±5 40±4 12±5 Core 278 66cm 121 cm 183 cm 275 cm 465 cm 523 cm 624 cm 700cm 775 cm 875 cm 982 cm 1103 cm 45 48 46 37 30 45 43 30 45 49 48 40 49 51 51 62 67 54 52 66 51 50 51 59 5 1 3 I 3 I 5 4 4 1 I I mean: 42±6 55±6 3±2 Tab. 1: Weight proportions of the clay, silt and sand fractions in samples from gravity cores 224 and 278 (in wt.-%). Tab. 1: Gewichtsanteile der Ton-, Silt- und Sandfraktion in Sedimentproben der Schwerelotkerne 224 und 278 (in Gew.%). distributions remain quite constant with depth, which leads to a relatively small standard deviation. This is also confirmed by the excellent agreement between the mean grain-size distribution of the gravity cores (6-11 m) and the corresponding box core sampIes (approx. 0.5 m) representing the youngest sediment, only. They vary within the single standard deviation of the gravity core sampIes (Tab. 2). Granulometrical characteristics of the four geographic areas are described as follows (Fig. 4): Weddell Sea Of all investigated sampIes the Weddell Sea group (1167-5, 1168-2,1169-1,1171-1,1173-6,1174-2) contains the highest average amount of clay (40 %). Five samples are poorly sorted clay and silt and represent pelagic sedimentation, whereas sampIe 1168-2 exhibits a moderately sorted sediment assemblage from clay to gravel (Fig. 4e). According to its textural parameters sample 1168-2 represents a turbiditic layer. B Station 224 clay silt 40±4 48±5 45 43 sand 12±5 12 Station 278 clay silt sand 3+2 42±6 55+6 2 42 56 Tab. 2: Comparison of the grain-size composition (wt.%) of gravity core (A) and box core (B) samp1es. Tab. 2: Vergleich der Komgrößenzusammensetzungen (Gew.%) von Schwere10t- (A) und Kastenlotproben (B). South Orkney Island Plateau SampIes of the South Orkney Island Plateau (1176-3,1176-4, 1177-3,1178-4) show similar grain size distribution characteristics as the Weddell Sea sediments. Only a higher average amount of the fine sand fraction (26 %) has been observed (Fig. 4d). This can be explained by the presence of glacial sediments, both from the Weddell Sea pack-ice and from the South Orkney Island Plateau. Sample 1176-4 represents a turbiditic layer. Powell Basin Powell Basin pelagic sediments (sarnples 1180-4,210, 225) consist of clay, silt, and sand (Fig. 4c). Generally they show a higher amount of fine sand (30 %) than the above described sediments. Bransfield Strait The samples from Bransfield Strait exhibit considerably varying granulometrical parameters. Based on these characteristics they can be divided into two different granulometrical groups. Group I consists of sampIes (n = 8) with an amount of clay + silt of <50 % (Fig. 4a), whereas Group 11 sarnples (n = 10) show higher clay- silt portions (Fig. 4b). Group I sediments exhibit a bimodale grain size distribution, which is probably the result of several different overlapping sedimentation processes (Mattnrss 1986). A further subdivision ofthis sarnple group into samples of the Bransfield shelf (water depth <850 m, sampIes 1183-4, 1337-4, 1353-4, 1355-4) and basin (water depth >1000 m, sampIes 1138-4, 1141-2, 1186-3, 1187-3) shows weakly to poorly sorted clays to fine gravels in the latter, and a distinct enrichment of the fine sand fraction (36 %) in the former subgroup. The basin sampIes represent turbiditic layers. In contrast to Group I sediments, sampIes of Group 11 (1147-6, 1148-1,1181-2,1182-2,1184-6,1324-1, 1333-2, 1336-5, 13381, 240) are poorly sorted, negative-skewed clays to fine sand, and represent pelagic sedimentation. Petrology Fine grain fractions «63 um) The petrographical composition of the clay and fine silt fraction of all sampIes is quite uniform. This is in agreement with the findings of GOLDBERG & GRIFFIN (1964), BISCAYE (1965), JACOBS (1974), ANDERSON et al. (1980), ELVERH01 & ROALDSET (1983), HOLLER (1985), and GROBE (1986). Beside illite as a major, and chlorite and montmorillonite as a minor constituent, traces of smectite and other rnixed-Iayers are present. Detrital quartz and plagioclase are always present in minor proportions. 133 c, 100',.-'("-%-'-)-'--- a, 100 ,.l-(!!.%L)---,----.----.-----,----:o;;or-----p=-:;;".-, 50 50 ES 0,002 b, 0,1)j3 0,1 0,2 20 I 6,3 0,63 .:' PB 1~,::::< 0,002 (ma) 0,1)j3 0,1 0,2 0,63 6,3 (mm) 100r(%::..:.)_,_--~?=~~~~--,....--,-1 50 50 ES so 20 10 II Olli:.:.:::-L._ _- L - - L _ - - ' -_ _. l -_ _ 0,1:X;3 0,1 0,2 0,63 6,3 (mm) e'1001(%-)-----,-- 0,002 0,1:X;3 0,1 0,2 0,63 .l-_--J~ 6,3 Inm) ~.......- :-......-==-,_-_,171 50 20 ws 10 o L-'-""--'_ _- ' -_ _L-"--'_ _- - ' _ _"--'_ _- - L - - - - l I 0,002 0,1)j3 0,1 I 0,2 I 0,63 6,3 (mm) Fig. 4: Cummulative grain-size distribution pattern for marine surface sediments of the investigated area (wt. %); (a)+(b) Bransfield Strait (Group I = BS I Group 11 = BS ll), (c) Powell Basin (PB), (d) South Orkney Island Plateau (SO), (e) Weddell Sea (WS). Abb, 4: Kornsurrunenkurven der Sedimente des Untersuchungsgebietes; (a)+(b) Bransfield-Straße (Gruppe I =BS I, Gruppe II =BS 11), (c) Powell-Becken (PB), (d) South-Orkney-Inselplateau (SO), (e) Weddellmeer (WS). Table 3 shows a semiquantitive comparison of the clay mineral proportions in the clay and fine silt fraction of samples from the Bransfield Strait and the Weddell Sea, respectively. The differences in the proportions of chlorite and feldspar become evident. In order to verify the temporal variability of the mineralogical composition samples from two gravity cores were analysed. Semiquantitative determinations of the integral peak area on air dried and glycole treated samples reveal the different mineralogical composition of the grain size fractions <211m and 2-6.3 um, but also differences with depths (Tabs. 4 and 5). Core 224 According to the proportions of illite, chlorite and feldspar in the clay fraction of samples from Core 224 three sec tors within the depth profile can be distinguished (Fig. 5). While the content of illite steadily decreases from sector I with a mean proportion of x = 43±2 % (n = 4, 17-90 cm depth) to sector ll with x = 27±2 % (n = 5, 193-432 cm depth) to sector III with x = 33±3 % (n = 4, 485-648 cm depth), the chlorite content increases with depth (Tab. 4). There is a significantly higher portion of plagioclase in sector 11 with a mean value of x = 14±2 % compared to the sectors I and III with x = 5±2 and 7±1 %, respective134 ly. The proportions of all the other components remain constant within their estimated standard error deviation. Illite and feldspar as well as chlorite and mixed-layers are strictly negatively correlated. Their correlation coefficients are r = -0.72 (n = 13, P >= 99 % security) for illite vs. feldspar, and r = -0.70 (n = 13, P >= 95 % security) for chlorite vs. mixed-layers, respectively. Further constituents of the clay and fine silt fraction are amorphous silica components (as in Tab. 4) predominantly biogenic opal from diatom skeleton fragments and volcanic glass, respectively. Their proportions vary considerably between the different sedimentation areas. Powell Basin and Weddell Sea samples contain 4 to 18 % (x = 1O±5 %), Bransfield Strait sediments 21-46 % (x = 33±8 %, n =12), while samples from the South Orkney Plateau contain between 52-83 % (x = 68+16 %, n = 3). The portion of volcanic glass shards within the clay fraction of 1-3 % remains relatively constant a11 over the sedimentation areas. The fine silt fraction (2-6.3 um) does not reveal the three fold subdivision of the sediment profile. Detritic minerals, mainly quartz, substitute illite and chlorite to a considerable extent. Smectite and mixed-layers are of sub ordinate importance. There is a distinct increase in amorphous silica. This is due to frag- Bransfield Strait <-> Weddell Sea MAIN CONSTITUENT MINOR CONSTlTUENT illite chlorite quartz feldspar montmorillonite smectite mixed-layers TRACES Core 224 < » » < < Tab. 3: Semiquantitative comparison of the clay mineral proportions in the clay and fine silt fractions from sampies of Bransfield Strait and Weddell Sea. (= equal proportions; < > one proportion prevails; « » one proportion prevails markably). Tab. 3: Halbquantitativer Vergleich der Tonmineralanteile in der Ton- und Feinsiltfraktion von Proben der Bransfield-Straße und Weddellmeer. (= gleiche Anteile, < > ein Anteil überwiegt,«» ein Anteil überwiegt stark). depth musc.! illite chlorit. smect. mixed-I. fsp. grain size fraction <211m 17cm 36 14 4 35 cm 62 cm 90 cm 42 37 37 13 14 21 193 cm 255 cm 301 cm 334 cm 432cm 21 24 27 20 19 19 15 14 29 28 26 32 19 25 17 21 quartz ,ac' sector 15 5 14 12 19 14 4 3 4 11 6 6 9 13 12 8 13 9 5 5 5 5 15 10 12 21 18 9 14 12 13 13 15 14 17 11 15 14 13 13 14 11 6 13 17 13 13 17 14 13 14 5 I Hlite Chlorite Smektite Mixed-layers Feldspar Quartz 34±7 20±4 4±1 17±5 9±4 16±3 485 540 582 648 cm cm cm cm 22 3 4 3 4 3 grain-size fraction 2-6.3 11m 17 cm 19 24 + 4 6 7 4 12 30 11 9 45 35 34 9 4 + 18 + + + 3 14 14 17 17 18 15 23 23 21 22 19 18 + + + 11 31 6 12 13 13 14 33 11 35 31 + 12 6 3 5 + 9 17 12 + + + + 3 6 6 6 22 15 193 cm 255 cm 301 cm 334cm 432cm 17 17 18 18 21 25 21 18 + 1O±3 14±4 13±4 Tab. 5: Mineralzusammensetzung der Tonfraktionen von Proben der SchwereIotkerne 224 und 278 (in Gew.-%). ments of diatom skeletons, which derive from excrements of krill. During the digestion of diatoms their skeletons are broken to pieces of 1-10 11m in size (Gersonde & WEFER 1985), which accumulate in the fine silt fraction. (MATTHIES & TROLL 1987). Core 278 The clay fraction of Core 278 cannot be subdivided into three seetions like the clay fraction of Core 224. Illite and mixed-layers appear in distinctly smaller quantities than in Core 224, while the contents of smectite and amorphous components are increased. Apart from the dependence of chlorite and illite from [ern] core 224 rxr (X] II III 500 18 21 21 35 cm 62cm 90cm 485 cm 540cm 582cm 648 cm 12 9 21 10 27±10 25±5 1l±3 Tab. 5: The mineral compositions of the clay fractions from Core 224 and Core 278 (in wt.-%). core 278 22 Core 278 33 I C 8 10 II 1000 C 11 9 10 12 39 38 38 36 9 5 7 10 III Tab. 4: Mineralogical composition of the clay and fine silt fraction of core sampies from Core 224 (+: detected). Tab. 4: Mineralzusammensetzung der Ton- und Feinsiltfraktion der Proben aus Kern 224 (+: nachgewiesen). SMLF Q SML F Q Fig. 5: Clay mineralogical composition of sediment sampies from Core 224 and Core 278. Three sections in the profile of Core 224 can be distinguished: sector I 17-90 cm depth, sector Ir 193-432 cm depth and sector III 485-648 cm depth. I = illite; C = chlorite; S = smectite; ML = mixed-Iayers; F = feldspar; Q = quartz. Abb. 5: Torunineralogische Zusammensetzung der Kerne 224 und 278. Im Kern 224 können 3 Abschnitte unterschieden werden: Abschnitt I in 17-90 cm, Abschnitt 11193-432 cm, Abschnitt 111485-648 cm. 1= Illit, C = Chlorit, S = Smektit, ML = Mixed Layers, F = Feldspat, Q = Quarz. 135 depth (r = 0.84, n = 12, P >99 % seeurity and r = -0.52, n = 12, P >95 % security, respeetively) no further interdependeneies beeome obvious. Heavy mineral composition oj medium grainfractions (63-200 fll11) In 41 sediment sampIes more than 25 heavy mineral speeies were identified, of whieh only 10 oeeur in appreeiable amounts. They include garnet, amphibole, augite, hypersthene, titanite, zoisite, spinel, leueoxene and opaque minerals (magnetite and ilmenite). Other minerals present but not eommon, include apatite, zireon, tourmaline, diopside, sillirnanite, glaucophane, kyanite, rutile, and olivine. In the following seetions petrographie eharaeteristies of the eommon heavy minerals are deseribed in their deereasing order of abundanee. Gamet Reddish to pale pink almandines and eolourless grossulares are observed. Generally they are fresh and unaltered. Grains are sharply angular to slighly subrounded. Solution pits were found. Augite Augite fragments mostly are short-prismatie and show eharacteristie saw-tooth marks. Some augites exhibit a weak pleochroism from pale green to greyish green, and a high extinction angle of about 45°. Amphibole Three types of hornblendes were identified by their colour, pleochroisrn, and birefringenee. Green hornblende is light or dark green. The mineral is slightly pleoehroitic (pale green to greyish green or yellowish green to pale bluish green). Most mineral fragments are prismatic with angular to subangular shape. Glaueophane shows pleochroism (colourless, pale green to bluish violet) with high birefringenee and a small extinetion angle (4_6°). Brown hornblende varies from greenish brown, reddish brown to dark brown. Like green hornblende the brown hornblende is slightly pleochronitic and has a low birefringence. Glaucophane and brown hornblende are aceessory minerals. Titanite Titanite exhibits a range of colours from pale yellow to greenish yellow. Full extinction is prevented by eharacteristic dispersion of the mineral. Pleochroism is very weak or not detectable. 60 50 \)= (j .. a • 15 ~ Garnet es Leukoxene 0 Amphibole Eillillill Titanite arm Augite ... CJ Zoisite 0 Hypersthene 0 Sp ine l C2D Epidote Opaque minerals km 55 500 !BS·A! 60 / I ( WEDDELL SEA ./ J 70 60 50 Fig. 6: Distribution of heavy minerals in the investigated area (mineral frequency expressed in per cent by number); Bransfield Strait (Group A = BS A, Group B = BS B), Poweil Basin (PB), South Orkney Island Plateau (SO), Weddell Sea (WS). Abb, 6: Schwermineralverteilung im Untersuchungsgebiet (Häufigkeit in Prozent Komzahl); Bransfield-Straße (Gruppe A = BS A, Gruppe B = BS B), Po wellBecken (PB), South-Orkney-Inselplateau (SO), Weddellmeer (WS). 136 Leucoxene Leucoxene consists of mineral aggregates of mostly anatase and titanite. Under crossed polars bluish green and yellow colours can be seen. Leucoxene shows high birefringence and no extinction. The aggregate rims often exhibit lower birefringence, and consist mainly of zoisite and clinozoisite. Zoisite Colourless zoisite shows a weak pleochroism and low birefringence. An anomalous bluish interference colour has been observed. Hypersthene All grains of arthopyroxene present are hypersthene. It occurs in prismatic grains with rare saw-tooth termination and a distinct pleochroism was evident (pale brownish red to pale green). Epidote Dark yellow epidote exhibits a weak pleochroism (pale green to yellowish green) and very high birefringence. The grains are mostly angular to subrounded. Spinel Dark red spinel shows a high index of refraction and is isotropie. The grains are often intersected by several cracks. Heavy mineral distribution of medium grainfractions (63-200 flm) The total amount of heavy minerals in the investigated sediment sampIes ranges from 10-60 %. On the average sediments from the Bransfield Strait area contain 37 % heavy minerals in the fine sand fraction, whereas sediments from the Powell Basin, the Weddell Sea, and the South Orkney Island Plateau hold about 25 % heavy minerals. According to the geographie sampIe locations the following heavy mineral characteristics of each location are evident (Fig. 6). Weddell Sea The six investigated sampIes of the Weddell Sea area are characterized by their high amounts of garnet (45 %, average mineral frequency expressed in percent by number). On the average, opaque minerals comprise 23% of total heavy minerals followed by green hornblende (11 %), augite (6 %), spineI, zoisite, leucoxene, kyanite, and titanite (all « 5 %). site, apatite, diopside, epidote, rutile, sillimanite, tourmaline, and zircon. A minor amount of garnet and a higher amount of opaque minerals distinguish this sampIe group from the Weddell Sea and South Orkney sediments. Bransfield Strait The above described mineral associations are quite different from those of the Bransfield Strait where the highest amounts of opaque minerals, augite, and leucoxene occur. Garnet is only a minar constituent. The Bransfield sampIes can be divided into two different heavy mineral assemblages. Group A consists of 17 sampIes of the northeastern part of Bransfield Strait and is characterized by high amounts of opaque minerals (35 %) and augite (15 %). Less common minerals include garnet (12 %), leucoxene, titanite, green hornblende (8 % each), hypersthene (5 %), zoisite (5 %) and epidote (4 %). Accessary minerals are apatite, diopside, kyanite, glaucophane, rutile, tourmaline, and zircon. Sampies (263,240, 1147-6, 1148-1) near Elephant and Clarence Islands exhibit high "amphibole-epidote-zoisite" concentrations. Sampie Group B (n = 6) is located at the southwestern end of Bransfield Strait and is dominated by high amounts of opaque minerals (37 %) and leucoxene (31 %). Despite less common amounts of augite (13 %) and titanite (10 %), all other minerals have accessory character (glaucophane, green hornblende, hypersthene, kyanite, olivine, sillimanite, and zoisite). Dropstone classification system of coarse sized detritus (» 1 cm) The rock type, group and society classification system introduced for the purpose of these investigations is not in accordance with commonly used rock terms and classifications. In addition no chemical standard was used here. The rock type with narrowly defined features referring to its mineral content, structure and texture also within extensive populations, is represented mostly as a single specimen. In the source area it is a homogeneous and distinct rock body. The conception "rock group" means broader defined limits for the mineral percentages and far textural and structural features. Frequently it includes several rock types. The terminus "rock society" includes several rock groups, which show similar genesis and spacious source areas. 0/ coarse sized detri- South Orkney Plateau The mineral association of the South Orkney group (3 sampIes ) is similar to the Weddell Sea area. As in the Weddell Sea area garnet (38 %) is the predominant heavy mineral. Slightly higher amounts of opaque minerals (25 %), amphibole (15 %) and augite (8 %) are shown. The weight distributions of the rock societies are shown in Figs. 7 and 8. Starting from the percentage frequencies in these figures it is intended to look for the origin of the freight. Powell Basin The Powell Basin group (4 sampIes ) comprises opaque minerals (33 %) as the main constituent followed by garnet (22 %), titanite (10 %), green hornblende, augite, and leucoxene (8 % each). Less common minerals include hypersthene, spineI, zoi- In addition, rock societies in the dropstone population were compared with rock societies of outcrops on the Antarctic Peninsula. The area of comparison is shown in Fig. 9. In order to estimate the square percentages of each rock society outcropping in the separate sectors west and east of the ice divide and Dropstone composition and distribution tus (>1 em) 137 70 55 30 5\ 60 60 65 65 01 socie.ty t ptutoruc to hypobysslc ~gll~~~:f~s moomotues, cctd _ soeiety 2: intermediate beste volccrutes and r::== soeiety 3: stuty pororocks ~ the lower Epizane ~ soctety l:2::2:J ot 4: Para- onc ortnorocxs of lhe higher Epl- . IM Mesoand the Kotozone pe § soctsty S, gronobiostir. gneisses = seotmentüss _ _ soelety 7: ctostlc sedimentites = 3 society 5: cherntcot secretion 0 . 8 P . socrety e: robternoticc PALMER LAHO 70 30 Fig. 7: Lateral distribution of eight dropstone rock societies (wt.%). Bransfield Strait area excluded. Abb. 7: Flächenhafte Verteilung von 8 Eisfracht-Gesteinsvergesellschaftungen (Gew. %) ohne Bransfield-Straße. 21 + + 1 JG' + + + 25 + 23 18 + 19 O[(EPlIGHg IIL>HO + + . 20 60'00' Fig. 8: Lateral distribution of eight dropstone rock societies in Bransfield Strait. Abb. 8: Verteilung von acht Eisfracht-Gesteinsvergesellschaftungen in der Bransfield-Straße, 138 + + 00' Peninsula west of the ice divide Fig. 9: Areal proportions of 6 rock societies on the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands according to the geological map of the British Antarctic Survey (1979-1982). Broken ring around circular plot represents ice cover in square percentages. RS 1: magmatites in hyp-abyssic to plutonic solidification; RS 2: intermediate to basic volcanic rocks; RS 3: slaty pararocks of the lower grcenshist facies; RS 4: para- and orthorocks of intermediate to high grade metamorphism (except granulites). RS 6: chernical secretion sedimentites; RS 7: clastic sedimentary rocks. Abb. 9: Flächenanteile von 6 Gesteinsvergesellschaftungen auf der Antarktischen Halbinsel und den Süd-Shetland-Inseln entsprechend der geologischen Karte des British Antarctic Survey (1979-1982). Der unterbrochene Kreis gibt die Eisbedeckung in Flächenprozent an. RS I: Magmatite in hyp-abyssischer bis plutonischer Erstarrung, RS 2: intermediäre bis basische Vulkanite, RS 3: Paraschiefer der niedrigen Grünschieferfazies. RS 4: Para- und Orthogesteine höhergradiger Metamorphosestufen (ausgenommen Granulitfazies), RS 6: chemische Sedimente, RS 7: klastische Sedimentgesteine. the South Shetland Islands, the geologieal maps 1: 500,000 of the British Antaretie Survey (1979-1982) serve for referenee. DISCUSSION The investigated sediments of Bransfield Strait, Po weIl Basin and northwestern Weddell Sea reveal, from a granulometrieal point of view, the weIl known grain-size distribution pattern of a deereasing median with inereasing water depth. Within the grain-size classification the sediments vary from clayey to sandy silts. The similar proportions of clay, silt and sand in one surfaee sample (box eore) and its eorresponding gravity eore profile ean be taken as an indieation of more or less eonstant sedimentation eonditions during the last 400,000 years maximum. Freshness, angularity and eomposition of the detrial material ean be interpreted as a direet sediment input by melting ieebergs, whieh is in aeeordanee with results reported by ANGINa & ANDREWS (1968), and WRIGHT & ÄNDERSON (1982). Both studies suggest that the sediments of the Weddell Sea are mainly transported as iee-rafted detritus. An additional sediment input by turbidity eurrents into the abyssal regions of the Weddell Sea ean be demonstrated by the presenee of a moderately sorted sediment assemblage from clay to gravel in sample 1168-2. The inerease in sand pereentages in sediments from the South Orkney Island Plateau is eaused by the greater relative input of iee-rafted detritus from the Weddell Sea paek-iee and the South Orkney Island glaeiers, respeetively. These poorly sorted deposits have the granulometrieal eharaeteristies of "basal tills" (ANDERSON et al. 1980). Beside these typieal glaeial marine sediments turbiditie layers oeeur in the eontinental slope area of the South Orkney Island Plateau (see sample 1176-4). Different sedimentation proeesses are responsible for the observed sediment distribution in the Bransfield Strait. Our granulometrieal results eorrespond with investigations of EDWARDS & GOODELL (1969), who deseribed high sand eoneentrations (> 50 %) in marine sediments of the shelf regions of the Antaretie Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands. Two strong bottom counter-currents in the northern and southern part of Bransfield Strait eoming from the Bellingshausen Sea and the Weddell Sea (WITTSTOCK & ZENK 1983), respeetively, holding the finer sediment fraetions in suspension, are responsible for the predominanee of the eoarser fraetions in this region (Group I). In eontrast to these results a remarkable deerease of sand eoneentrations ean be noted at both ends and in the deeper basins (>2000 m) of the Strait (Group ll). Marine eurrents had little or no effeet on these sediments after deposition. An important feature of the eontinental shelf of the Antaretie Peninsular are submarine eanyons reaehing into the Bransfield Strait basins. Through these eanyons remarkable amounts of eoarser size fraetions are transported as turbidity eurrents into the basins. The eastern part of the Powell Basin does not exhibit any partieular granulometrieal eharaeteristies probably representing a eombined model ofthe different sedimentary meehanisms ofthe surrounding regions. In eontrast to terrestrial and lake sediments from the Bransfield Strait region, the age of the marine sediments is still uneertain. On the basis of tephrostratigraphieal investigations on limnetie and marine ash-layers from this region, MATTHIES et al. (1990) reported marine sedimentation rates of 7 cm/lOOO a (station 1338-1) and 24 ern/lOOO a (station 1347-1), respeetively. From this a maximum age of 110,000 a (7 ern/lOOO a) or 27,000 a (24 ern/lOOO a) for Core 224 (lenght 648 em) ean be dedueed. HOLLER (1985) earried out geoteehnieal investigations on the same sediment eore and found 2 hiatus of 10 m eaeh within the sediment sequenee. They are loeated in 17-35 em depth and at 355 em depth, respeetively. Own geoehemieal investigations (unpublished) eonfirm these findings by distinet ehemieal diseontinuities in the postulated depths. Aeeording to this, Core 224, whieh is 650 em in length, most probably represents three seetions from an originally 26.5 m thiek sediment sequenee. This results in the new estimation of the maximum sediment age of 380,000 a (7 ern/lOOO a) or 100,000 a (24 ern/lOOO a) given in Table 6. These evaluations are based on the assumption of constant sedimentation rates as weIl as of no further hiatus. This ean be judged as most unlikely, if the following is taken into aeeount. Earlier results from tephrostratigraphieal investigations on three other sediment eores from Bransfield Strait (1346-1, 1347-1 and 139 Station 224 without hiatus Sector I (17-90 cm) 700-4000 2400-13000 with 2 hiatus 10m sedimentation 700-45000 2400-156000 24 cm/1000 a 7 cm/1000 a 8000-18000 50000-100000 28000-62000 170000-350000 24 cm/1000 a 7 cm/lOOO a Sector III 20000-27000 (485-648 cm) 103000-110000 69000-100000 355000-380000 24 cm/lOOO a 7 cm/lOOO a Sector II (193-432 cm) Tab. 6: Sediment ages on the basis of sedimentation rates of 7 and 24 cm/l 000 a for core profile 224. Tab. 6: Sedimentalter basierend auf Sedimentationsraten von 7 bzw. 24 cm/l 000 a für das Kernprofil 224. 1357 -1) (MATTHIES et al. 1988) indicate severa1 considerable hiatus, each longer than the entire sediment cores considered. Therefore, according to the present state ofknowledge it must be assumed that the sediment sequences in the cores from this region are in most cases not cornplete. Furthermore, several glaciation periods took place on the southem hernisphere during the last approximately 400,000 a. They caused large-scale ice avalanches and extended pack ice fields accompanied by sea level changes of several hundred meters causing dryness of large shelf areas, It is for sure that during these climatic changes the sedimentation processes in this region changed several times, too. While comparing the clay mineralogical findings in Core 224 with the climatic history of the Atlantic sector of Antarctica (according to ANDERSON 1972) the warm and cold stages correspond fair1y weIl with the sequence of sectors I to III, a sedimentation rate of 7 cml1000 a including two hiatus. Sector I Cl ,000-45,000 a) represents the last warm stage, sector 11 (50,000-56,000 a) corresponds with the last cold stage, while sector III (103,000-110,000 a) represents the isotope stage 5, a wann period. Furthermore, sec tors 11 and III would also agree with the sedimentological findings of GROBE (1986), who investigated sediment cores from the eastern part of the Weddell Sea, off Kap Norvegia. According to these findings a sedimentation rate of ? cml1000 a seems to be most like1y as it also meets the mean sedimentation rate of 1-2 cm/lOOO a given by GROBE (1986) for the more eastern area. As a conclusion the cold stage is characterized by an increased presence of detritic minerals, like quartz and feldspar, while simultaneously illite decreases, According to this the sequence of 183-465 cm depth of Core 278 must be attributed to a cold stage. As the sections in the top and the bottom of this core differ distinct1y from the mineralogical pattern of sectors land III of Core 224, an assignment to the climatic pattern of ANDERSON (1972) is not done. Due to the great uncertainties in the sediment age an assignment to the climatic record of the Antarctic ice shield (LORIUS et al. 1985) is not possib1e, either. The aeolian sediment input has not been described too much in the recent Antarctic literature, yet. There are comprehensive investigations on the mode, composition and extent of wind load over the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans by DELANY et al. (1967), PARKIN et al. (1970), CHESTER et al. (1971), LANGE (1982), and 140 BLANK et al. (1985). The grain-size spectra cover the whole clay and silt fraction. In decreasing order the wind load carries illite, kaolinite, chlorite, montmorillonite, smectite, quartz, feldspars, as weIl as diatom frustrules. WINDOM (1969) and LEINEN & HEATH (1981) calculated the aeroso1 proportion of the Pacific and Atlantic sediments to be as much as 75-95 %. Corresponding estimations for the Antarctic marine sediments are rnissing due to the lack of aeroso1 investigations. However, this factor should not be neglected when sediments from this region are going to be interpreted for their climatic and sedimentary reeords. The heavy mineral distribution in the sediments of the investigated area points to several petrographic provinces. A province characterized by metamorphic minerals occurs in the sediments of the Weddell Sea, the South Orkney Island Plateau, and a small area near Elephant Island, The dominant mineral assemblage consists of gamet and green hornblende with minor amounts of epidote, spinel, sillimanite, and kyanite. The Weddell Sea sediments probably originated along the eastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. ADlE (1957) describes almandine-rich silIimanite-garnet-biotite hornfelses at Cape Christmas (72° 20' S, 60° 41' W). As already mentioned a majority ofthese sediments is transported by icebergs. However, several local sources for gamet, green hornblende and epidote exist in the metamorphic rocks of Elephant and Clarence Islands (DALZIEL 1984, LOSKE et al. 1985) and the South Orkney Islands (THoMsoN 1968, 1974), and in the quartzdiorite and the sandstones of the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula (SMELLtE 1987). A province remarkably characterized by minerals of volcanic origin can be distinguished south and north of the South Shetland Islands, especially around the still active volcano of Deception Island, The dominant mineral assemblage consists of augite and leucoxene with minor amounts of hypersthene and olivine. This result does not surprise as the South Shetland Islands are of volcanic origin, The volcanic suite interfingers with the metamorphic mineral assemblage east of Elephant and Clarence Islands and the Weddell Sea (EDWARDS & GOODELL 1969). A small strip of an intrusive mineral assemblage occurs along the west coast of the northern Antarctic Peninsula. This intrusive mineral suite is characterized by green hornblende and minor concentrations of ruffle, tourmaline, and zircon. They originate in lowgrade metamorphic sediments of the Antarctic Peninsula (e.g. Mount Bransfield at 63° 17' S, 57° 06' W; ADlE 1957). Some selected rock types give rise to search for distinct rock bodies in ice free outcrops. One of those is leuco-mangerite with light red feldspars, wh ich was found ha1fway from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula to the South Orkney Islands. Due to its fabric it might derive from the Red Ridge Granite at Marguerite Bay, which is described by ADlE (1955). A reddish rhyolith with fluidal texture found at the same locality, might originate from the Gambacorta Formation in the Pensacola Mountains (LAIRD & BRADSHAW 1982). A "dry" diorite with orthopyroxene from a sample location 150 km south of the South Orkney Islands probably is derived from the East Antarctic Craton. Some spe- cimens of acid to intermediate fine grained magmatites with dispersed inclusions of sulphides were found in sample locations offshore the Pacific coast. Rocks with similar enrichments in sulphide occur in outcrops at the west coast and also on some offshore islands (Cox et al. 1980, ROWLEY & PRIDE 1982, ROWLEY & WILLlAMS 1982, HOECKER & AMSTUTZ 1986). Only few outcrops of granob1astic gneisses occur at the western coast of Graham Land. Within the basement complex ADlE (1954) describes them in the Cape Calmette gneiss. Referring to the reconstruction of migration paths of rock groups and rock societies estimations of origin remain more spacious. Several groups of acid volcanic rocks are culminating northwest of the Antarctic Peninsula. Perhaps they moved along a tonguelike path in an acute angle to the coast line and the main surface stream, out into the Drake Passage. A similar distribution in the northwestern area can be observed with the rock society of magmatites in plutonic to hypabyssic intrusion levels (Figs. 7 and 8). The rock group of dark blue-grey slaty claystone occurs on the Antarctic Peninsula (ROWLEY & WILLIAMS 1982), in Ellsworth Land (BUGGISCH & WEBERS 1982) and in the sediment cover of Dronning Maud Land (sample by M. PETERS). The group of brown and red sandstones and arcoses can be seen for example in the western part of the Shackleton Range (Blaiklock Glacier Group, according to LAIRD & BRADSHAW 1982) and in the eastern Dronning Maud Land. Both groups point to far more southern SOUl"Ce areas. The samples with the highest proportion of intermediate to basic volcanic rocks (>50 %) are found in the vicinity of Elephant Island. This rock society appears to be composed predominantly of rocks from the volcano islands of the South Shetland Islands (BIRKENMEYER et al. 1991), while volcanic rocks from the southwest probably Palmer Land, contribute a minor proportion. According to W ATKINS & SELF (1972) volcanic detritus is generally enriched at 55° S. This is not generally valid as our results reveal. The findings of ROESSLER-VIANA (1985) are in good agreement with our results concerning the percentages of volcanic rocks, although the percentage estimations of ROESSLER-VIANA (1985) seem to be too high for the Bellingshausen Sea, and too low for the area around Astro1abe Island. Referring to the close vicinity of the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula (Fig. 9), the dropstone populations show some relationships between weight percentages and areal proportions of the terrestial outcrops. For example, the samples from Powell Basin and the northwestern Weddell Sea partly ressemble the ones from the sector east of the ice divide. Along the Pacific coast three offshore sample fields show a good similarity to the sector west of the ice divide. The sample fields nearby the South Shetland Islands on1y partly resemble the ones on the islands. Antarctica (KAMENEV 1980) is hinting at highly metamorphosed terrains. CONCLUSIONS The results from this study lead to the following conclusions: It is still an open task to search for the distribution path of pumice. Although pumice usually remains on the water surface, it is also deposited in surficial sediments of Bransfield Strait. Summed up together with pyroclastites in the statistical evaluation, it culminates between 10-30 % around Deception Island. One possibility for its deposition in the marine sediments might be the sudden release of a major lens of detritus sweeping it downwards, and burrying it within the dropstone deposit. The other possibility could be an autochthonous formation by submarine volcanic eruptions. The society of para- and orthometamorphites of the upper 10wgrade, medium- and highgrade zones can be found nearly everywhere. Their almost exclusive occurrence near the South Orkney Is1ands obviously indicates their origin from there. The society of granoblastic gneisses mainly found in the open northwestern Weddell Sea, is supposed to be a typica1 facies within the Precambrian of East Antarctica. Mostly, it is represented by pyroxene-granualite (SUWA 1968, GREW 1984, HARLEY 1985, FITZIMONS & THOST 1992). The most western outcrop of this facies is found in the Kottas Mountains south of the Weddell Sea (ARNDT et al. 1986, SPAETH & FIELITZ 1986, JACOBS 1991). The resu1ts of dropstone investigations (OSKIERSKI 1985, 1988, KUHN et al. 1993) give rise to assurne a far more southern extension of the granulite facies underneath the ice. In addition, the relatively great thickness of the crust in East • The sedimentary sequences in the Bransfield Strait basin can be subdivided into cold and warm stage sediments by their mineralogical composition. In combination with tephrostratigraphical considerations a sedimentation rate of approximately 7 cm/1 000 a can be established. • Off the Pacific coast along the Antarctic Peninsula acid volcanie rocks occur together with tourmaline, zircon and rutile. They also coincide with sulphide impregnated intermediate to acid magmatites. Their source bodies are located on the Antarctic Peninsula. • Near the South Shetland Islands the basic volcanic rocks are associated with single grains of olivine. • In the northwestern Weddell Sea pyroxene-granulite dropstones occur together with garnet, red spinel and orthopyroxene. They mainly originate from the East Antarctic Craton. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors heartly appreciated the collaboration of colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute, the Universities of Göttingen, Kiel and Hamburg, as well as of the Institute of Marine Research in Hamburg and the Niedersächsische Landesamt für 141 Bodenkunde in Hannover. They also thank the crews of the research vesse1s Meteor, Polarstern and Walter Herwig, who did an excellent job at sea. This investigation was financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), grants Tr 61/28-4, Tr 61/32-1, Tr 61/33-1 and Tr 61/36-1. References Adie, R.J. (1954): The basement complex: early Palaeozoic plutonic and volcanic rocks.- In: The petrology of Graham Land, Falkland Islands Dependeneies Survey, Sei. Rep. 11: 22. Adie, R.J. (1955): The Andean granite gabbro intrusive suite.- In: The petrology of Graham Land, Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, Sei. Rep. 12: 39. Adie, R.J. (1957): The petrology of Graham Land: III. 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