Glacial Sediments of Schirmacher Oasis, East Antarctica and their Characteristics

  • Rasik Ravindra


Schirmacher Oasis in Central Dronning Maud Land of East Antarctica represents a polar and periglacial environment that exhibits large accumulation of unconsolidated sediments as moraines and debris dropped by retreating ice sheet and admixture of sand-silt-clay deposited by the melt water channels. Study involved collection of sediments from various depositional environments for analyses. The sand-silt-clay ratios determined from these samples show that the sand percentage is varying between 71% and 95.22%, silt percentage varies between 3.06% and 15.54% and the clay percentage falls within 1.72–13.46% range indicating that the sand constitutes major part of the soil while clay fraction is generally negligible to minimum. It is in the vertical sections of some lake margins that fine lamiae of clay are seen. The organic carbon content and the inorganic carbon, as also the variation in the CaCO3 in the samples is very low. The sediments indicate a quartzose provenance and abundance of heavy minerals. Glacial till around Maitri were mapped on 1:1000 scale to understand the depositional history of sediments. The samples collected from each level were analysed for Accelerated Mass Spectrometer (AMS) dating. The results indicate four distinct surfaces of these deposits between the Priyadarshini Lake (towards north) and the area in the immediate vicinity of Maitri Station deposited between the span of 4702 and 8942 years BP. The surface textures and the morphological features on the quartz grains further indicate differential transportation, essentially by the glacial agency as the angularities of the edges are still preserved and the sub-rounding to rounding of the grains, typical of the fluvial action, is present only in case of channel deposits. Periods of residency of the grains for long span of time is shown by the engraved features on the surfaces of the quartz grains.


Schirmacher Oasis Glacial and periglacial environment Sedimentation history 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rasik Ravindra
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre for Polar and Ocean ResearchVasco da GamaIndia

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