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Article by PhD Student Gabriel West

Establishing a solid chronological framework for Arctic marine sediments is a critical first step towards glacial and palaeoceanographic reconstructions. However, this has historically been more challenging than elsewhere in the world, and often results in core chronologies and subsequent paleoenvironmental reconstructions being questioned and overturned. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating provided important constraints on late Quaternary ages for central Arctic marine sediments, and has considerable potential to underpin chronologies in other parts of the Arctic Ocean. This study applies OSL and infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) geochronology to multi-grain quartz and feldspar samples from a sediment core collected from the Lomonosov Ridge off the Siberian shelf during the 2014 SWERUS-C3 Expedition. Testing and advancing the proposed chronology of late Quaternary sediments in this part of the Arctic is essential to better constrain the timing of ice sheet growth on the Siberian Arctic shelf and subsequent ice shelf development in the Arctic Ocean. The results of luminescence dating support a pre-Eemian age for extensive ice grounding and scouring of the southern Lomonosov Ridge. Furthermore, we combine the OSL ages with data from rock magnetic measurements and propose an age-depth model for cores in this region. As in other areas in the Arctic, magnetic grain size/mineralogy profiles resemble the global oxygen isotope curve and may have the potential to be a dating tool. This can be tested and further refined in future studies that obtain longer sedimentary archives. Our results also indicate that changes in the inclination of the natural remanent magnetisation do not reflect geomagnetic field variation in the investigated sediment cores.

West, G., Alexanderson, H., Jakobsson, M., and O’Regan, M., 2021. Optically stimulated luminescence dating supports pre-Eemian age for glacial ice on the Lomonosov Ridge off the East Siberian continental shelf. Quaternary Science Reviews: 267.