The geology, tectonic history and landscape evolution of ice-covered East Antarctica are the least known of any continent. Lithic boulders eroded from the continental interior and deposited in glacial moraines flanking the Transantarctic Mountains provide rare constraints on the geological history of central interior East Antarctica. Crystallization ages and ice velocities indicate these glacial erratics are not sourced locally from the Transantarctic Mountains but rather originate from the continental interior, possibly as far inland as the enigmatic Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains. We apply low-temperature thermochronology to these boulders, including multi-kinetic inverse thermal modeling, to constrain a multi-stage episodic exhumation history. Cambro-Ordovician and Jurassic rapid-cooling episodes correlate with significant exhumation events accompanying Pan-African convergence and Gondwanan supercontinent rifting, respectively. Here we show that while Cretaceous rapid cooling overlaps temporally with Transantarctic Mountains formation, a lack of discrete younger rapid-cooling pulses precludes significant Cenozoic tectonic or glacial exhumation of central interior East Antarctica.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy