10Be/9Be Ratios Reflect Antarctic Ice Sheet Freshwater Discharge During Pliocene Warming

Rachel D. Valletta, Jane K. Willenbring, Sandra Passchier, Chiara Elmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Along glaciated margins, ratios of meteoric cosmogenic beryllium-10, 10Be, normalized to its stable isotope, 9Be, reflect an environmental signal, driven ultimately by climatic change. We explore the application of this isotopic pair as a proxy for East Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics. We analyze 10Be/9Be in middle Pliocene glaciomarine sediments offshore the Wilkes Land Region (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Site U1361A) and examine our new record alongside existing biochemical/geochemical records (Ba/Al, opal %wt, εNd, and 87Sr/86Sr). 10Be/9Be ratios reach local maxima during pulsed, mild warming events and are strongly correlated with existing records that indicate concurrent ice sheet retraction and increased bioproductivity. We suggest climate change as the primary driver of the 10Be/9Be record near glaciated margins, whereby increased warming drives ice sheet retraction, discharging freshwaters and diluting the open ocean 10Be/9Be signal recorded in authigenic minerals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-944
Number of pages11
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • East Antarctic Ice Sheet
  • Wilkes Land
  • beryllium-10
  • freshwater discharge


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