(Table 3) Age-related trends of desert pavement properties in the Transantarctic Mountains


Compared to mid-latitude deserts, the properties, formation and evolution of desert pavements and the underlying vesicular layer in Antarctica are poorly understood. This study examines the desert pavements and the vesicular layer from seven soil chronosequences in the Transantarctic Mountains that have developed on two contrasting parent materials: sandstone-dolerite and granite-gneiss. The pavement density commonly ranges from 63 to 92% with a median value of 80% and does not vary significantly with time of exposure or parent material composition. The dominant size range of clasts decreases with time of exposure, ranging from 16-64 mm on Holocene and late Quaternary surfaces to 8-16 mm on surfaces of middle Quaternary and older age. The proportion of clasts with ventifaction increases progressively through time from 20% on drifts of Holocene and late Quaternary age to 35% on Miocene-aged drifts. Desert varnish forms rapidly, especially on dolerite clasts, with nearly 100% cover on surfaces of early Quaternary and older age. Macropitting occurs only on clasts that have been exposed since the Miocene. A pavement development index, based on predominant clast-size class, pavement density, and the proportion of clasts with ventifaction, varnish, and pits, readily differentiated pavements according to relative age. From these findings we judge that desert pavements initially form from a surficial concentration of boulders during till deposition followed by a short period of deflation and a longer period of progressive chemical and physical weathering of surface clasts. The vesicular layer that underlies the desert pavement averages 4 cm in thickness and is enriched in silt, which is contributed primarily by weathering rather than eolian deposition. A comparison is made between desert pavement properties in mid-latitude deserts and Antarctic deserts.

Data extracted in the frame of a joint ICSTI/PANGAEA IPY effort, see http://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.150150

Supplement to: Bockheim, James G (2010): Evolution of desert pavements and the vesicular layer in soils of the Transantarctic Mountains. Geomorphology, 118(3-4), 433-443

DOI https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.807589
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.02.012
Metadata Access https://ws.pangaea.de/oai/provider?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=datacite4&identifier=oai:pangaea.de:doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.807589
Creator Bockheim, James G
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2010
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset; Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 639 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (157.583W, -83.750S, 171.000E, -77.496N); Transantarctic Mountains; Ross Sea Region, Antarctica