Unusual mafic rock fragments deposited in Plio-Pleistocene-aged marine sediments were recorded at Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Site U1359, in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. These fragments were identified from sediment layers deposited between c. 3 and 1.2 Ma, indicating a sustained supply during this time interval. Clinopyroxenes in these basalts are Al-Ti diopside-hedenbergite, uncommon in terrestrial magmatic rocks. A single strong peak in the Raman spectra of a phosphate-bearing mineral at 963 cm-1 supports the presence of merrillite. Although not conclusive, petrological traits and oxygen isotopic compositions also suggest that the fragments may be extra-terrestrial fragments affected by shock metamorphism. Nevertheless, it is concluded that the basaltic fragments incorporated in marine sediments at Site U1359 represent ice-rafted material supplied to the continental rise of East Antarctica, probably from the bedrocks near the proximal Ninnis Glacier. Further studies on Plio-Pleistocene sediments near Site U1359 are required to characterize the unusual mafic rocks described.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics