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Feasibility Study of Eocene to Pliocene Palynological Reconstruction off Seymour Island
Entry ID: Warny-OPPGeol-0533879

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Abstract: Feasibility study of Eocene to Pliocene palynological reconstruction of the
Antarctic Peninsula margin climate evolution
Project Summary

Intellectual merit
Numerous lines of geological evidence show that major changes in the global
climate system occurred during the Cenozoic, but the triggering mechanisms
behind widespread Antarctic glaciations and progressive cooling are still
debated. What triggered Antarctic glacial intensification and where on the
Antarctic continental margins did the cryosphere first developed are still
unanswered questions. In recent years, high-resolution seismic studies on the
margins have done much to provide details concerning the ice-sheet advances and
retreats. These glacial/interglacial cycles had a profound influence on the
vegetation and algal community in and around Antarctica. Plants and algae
adapted to continuous environmental changes and their fossil record can tell us
about the Antarctic climatic history. In advance of and concurrent with the
high-cost ANDRILL and SHALDRIL coring operations, I propose to explore a fairly
inexpensive research strategy that utilizes existing piston cores from the
Weddell Sea margin of the Antarctic Peninsula outer continental shelf. Seismic
data from the area shows that basinward tilted strata presumed to be Eocene and
younger in age are truncated at or near the seafloor. The terminations are
associated with a recent advance of the Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet.
Microfossils from these older strata are likely to be contained within seafloor
sediments sampled by existing piston cores. In this SGER proposal, I am
proposing to conduct a palynological investigation to evaluate the spectrum of
environmental changes that occurred from Eocene to Pliocene in the
Antarctic-Peninsula area. Reworked material sampled from archived piston cores
that penetrated the top of selected key seismic units off Seymour Island will
be analyzed to address one specific question:

What were the environmental conditions during Eocene/Pliocene interglacials and
glacials in the Antarctic Peninsula? Dinocyst distribution should document
changes in the marine realm while pollen and spores distribution will provide
data on land vegetation and climate changes.

By conducting this preliminary study, the PI will test the feasibility of a
larger scale study that will be proposed once SHALDRIL or ANDRILL type in situ
material is recovered.

Broader impact
The research activities were disseminated to the public and the scientific
community as a full-scale museum exhibit, with companion booklet, website and
conference coverage. The PI received a grant from the Louisiana Board of
Regents to build an exhibit entitled “Experience Antarctica: A century of Earth
Science discoveries”. The results from the PI’s Antarctic palynological
research, from the Northern Basin (past NSF support) and from the herein
proposed research on the Peninsula, were integrated into two exhibit panels.
Research of colleagues at LSU and from other institutions were summarized in
eight additional interactive panels. The education companion booklet was
distributed to the public and to science teachers in Louisiana. The PI’s
current operational education website was updated to present the new exhibit
and associated education material. Science teachers in Louisiana were invited
to a one-day workshop organized at LSU by the PI. The workshop included
detailed guided tours of the exhibit, a list of links between our research and
k-12 science standards, and educational material such as the LSU exhibit
companion booklet. The teachers were in return asked to organize a field trip
for their students to come and visit the Antarctic exhibit. For years to come,
this exhibit should improve the understanding and appreciation of Earth
Sciences for thousands of visitors.

Related URL
Description: This website contains all exhibit panels including text and pictures and all
the exhibit videos and animations.

Geographic Coverage
 N: -62.0 S: -65.0  E: -58.0  W: -54.0

Data Set Citation
Dataset Originator/Creator: Sophie Armande Warny
Dataset Title: Feasibility Study of Eocene to Pliocene Palynological Reconstruction off Seymour Island
Dataset Release Place: Baton Rouge, LA
Dataset Publisher: Louisiana Museum of Natural Science

Temporal Coverage
Start Date: 2005-03-01
Stop Date: 2007-02-28

Paleo Start Date: 55.8 Ma
Paleo Stop Date: 0 Ma
Chrono Unit:
Chrono Unit:
Chrono Unit:

Location Keywords

Science Keywords

ISO Topic Category

MICROSCOPES    [Information]

ANDRILL >Antarctic Drilling Program    [Information]

This was a feasibility study to test the potential recovery of palynomorphs in
the area of interest for the SHALDRIL project.

For this project, piston core samples were evaluated. The recovery exceeded
our expectations and a diverse palynomorph assemblage was recovered (diverse
both in age and in term of environmental significance).

Access Constraints
The staff at the Antarctic Research Facility in Florida was extremely helpful
and provided all data on time.

Use Constraints
All data are currently being published and will be accessible broadly soon.

Weddell Sea
dinoflagellate cyst

Data Set Progress

Originating Center
Louisiana State University, Museum of Natural Science and CENEX

Data Center
Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana Museum of Natural History, Louisiana State University    [Information]
Data Center URL:
Dataset ID: Experience Antarctica and Feasibility study off Seymour Island

Data Center Personnel
Phone: 225-578-5089
Fax: 225-578-2302
Email: swarny at
Contact Address:
Louisiana Museum of Natural Science
119 Foster Hall
City: Baton Rouge
Province or State: LA
Postal Code: 70803
Country: USA

Phone: 225-578-5089
Fax: 225-578-2302
Email: swarny at
Contact Address:
Louisiana Museum of Natural Science
119 Foster Hall
City: Baton Rouge
Province or State: LA
Postal Code: 70803
Country: USA

Warny, S. Anderson, J.B., ,Londeix, L., and Bart, P.J., submitted. Analysis of
the dinoflagellate cyst genus Impletosphaeridium as a marker of sea-ice
conditions off Seymour Island. In Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World –
Online Proceedings of the 10th ISAES, edited by A.K. Cooper and C.R. Raymond et
al., USGS Open-File Report 2007-xxx, yyy, 1-4, doi: 10.3133zzzzz.

Warny, S., to be submitted in March. Palaeostomocystis spp.: A potential
indicator of neritic subpolar environments from Masstrichtian to Pleistocene.
Palynology – special volume dedicated to John Wrenn.

Bart, P.J., Ehrmann, W.U., Hillenbrand, C.D., Iwai, M., Winter, D., and Warny,
S., 2006. Are Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet grounding events manifest in
sedimentary cycles on the adjacent continental rise? Marine Geology. In press.

Warny, S., Wrenn, J.H., Bart, P.J., Askin, R.E., 2006. Palynological analysis
of the NBP03-01A transect in Northern Basin, western Ross Sea, Antarctica: a
Late Pliocene record. Palynology, 30: 151-182,

Tedford, R. and Warny, S., 2006. Investigating the cake-layer Earth and its
fossil record. National Science Teacher Association, December, p. 40-44.

Fauquette, S., Suc, J.-P., Bertini, A., Popescu, S.-M., L., Warny, S., Bachiri
Taoufiq, N., Perez Villa, M.-J., Ferrier, J., Chikhi, H., Subally D. and
Clauzon, G., 2006. How much the climate forced the Messinian Salinity Crisis?
Quantified climatic conditions from pollen records in the western Mediterranean
region. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoecology, 238: 281-301.

Egger, A., Eriksson, S., Franks S., Hall, M., Marlino, M., Mogk, D. Ruzek, M.,
Scotchmoor, J., and Warny, S., 2006. Geoscience Education and Public Outreach
Network (GEPON). Report of a workshop held at UNAVCO, Boulder, Colorado, March
22-24, 2006. Marlino, M. and Scotchmoor, J. (eds). Available online at:

Warny, S., Bart, P.J. and Suc, J.-P., 2006. Glacioeustatic, climatic, and
tectonic influences on the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Abstract, SEAL
conference, Aix, France, 24-29 September.

Bart, P.J., Egan, D., and Warny, S., 2005. Late-Miocene/early-Pliocene
transition from temperate to sub-polar climatic conditions on the Pacific
margin of the Antarctic Peninsula outer continental shelf. JGR-Earth Surface.

Bart, P.J., and Warny, S., 2005. Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet grounding
events on the Pacific-margin continental shelf during the late Miocene/early
Pliocene compared to two drift-derived proxies on the adjacent continental
rise. Abstract, AGU (American Geosciences Union), New Orleans, Louisiana,
April 2005.

Bart, P.J., Warny, S., and Egan, D., 2005. Dynamics, nature and timing of
Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet grounding events on the Pacific margin outer
continental shelf during the late Miocene/early Pliocene. Abstract, EGU
(European Geosciences Union), General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 24 - 29 April

Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2007-03-08
Last DIF Revision Date: 2016-11-18

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