Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics


Earth and Environmental Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Sandra Passchier

Committee Member

Stefanie A. Brachfeld

Committee Member

Gregory Pope


An assessment of sediments taken from the IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) Expedition 318, Core U1359A from the Wilkes Continental Land Rise, has been conducted at a high resolution to determine the response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to climate during the Late Pliocene. The section of core being studied dates back to ~3.7 to 2.7 million years ago (Ma). Studies can lead to an understanding of climate change in the future, from knowledge on how ice sheets have transformed in the past with similar atmospheric conditions to the present. Samples from this record were analyzed based on the bulk particle size distributions, which were determined using a Malvern Mastersizer 2000 laser diffractometer. The samples were treated to remove organics, opal, and biogenic carbonate. The data was then processed using the coarse fraction, grater than 125 microns to calculate ice rafted debris (IRD) mass accumulation rates (MAR). After analysis of IRD, an additional analysis of microtextures using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) was conducted on high peaks of IRD. This test confirmed that sediments were glacially derived. By comparing the IRD MAR record to temperature, sea level, C02 levels, d180 records, and seismic data, it was determined that peaks in IRD MAR coincide with an expanding ice sheet. The IRD record from Hole U1359A between 3.7 and 2.7 Ma reflects an IRD signal of ice sheet advance, with matching peaks and trends in other proxies.

File Format