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The key to sources of the Pliocene and Pleistocene glaciation is at the bottom of the Barents Sea

Abstract

DURING the 23rd expedition of RV Academic Kurchatov, 27 cores of bottom sediments were taken from the Rybachiy Peninsula–Franz Josef Land profile1. The lithological data and the record of pollen analysis revealed the Lower Cretaceous deposits in the basement of two cores in the northern part of the sea. They are overlain by ‘ancient clays’ (tills)—dark-grey, grey and brown-grey loams and clays of average (1.6–1.8 g cm−3) and high (2.0–2.2 g cm−3) density. These clays are shown here to have commenced deposition 3.5 Myr ago, proving that the Barents Ice Sheet (BIS) existed in the late Pliocene. This indicates when glaciation in the mid-latitude began, and why alternation of glacial and interglacial periods occurred.

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