International Ocean Discovery Program

Expedition 318: Wilkes Land Glacial History

Location map Expedition 318January 2010 - March 2010

From January to March 2010, the JOIDES Resolution sailed on a two months expedition to Wilkes Land, Antarctica. The aim of the expedition was to explore the history of Antarctic climate over the past 35 million years.

The main objectives were:

  • To obtain the timing and nature of the first arrival of ice at the Wilkes Land margin inferred to have occurred during the earliest Oligocene (reflecting Oligocene isotope Event 1).
  • To obtain the nature and age of the changes in the geometry of the progradational wedge interpreted to correspond with large fluctuations in the extent of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and possibly coinciding with the transition from a wet-based to a cold-based glacial regime.
  • To obtain a high-resolution record of Antarctic climate variability during the late Neogene and Quaternary, and
  • To obtain an unprecedented ultrahigh resolution (i.e., annual to decadal) Holocene record of climate variability.

Over the duration of the expedition, 2000 m of high-quality middle Eocene–Holocene sediments were drilled at seven sites on the Wilkes Land shelf at water depths ranging between 400 m and 4000 m. The cores represent ~53 m.y. of Antarctic history. Two of the seven sites drilled during IODP Expedition 318 were logged (Holes U1359D and U1361A) with the Triple-combo toolstring, comprising resistivity, density, porosity and natural gamma radiation tools, and the FMS-Sonic toolstring, comprising the FMS micro-resistivity imager, sonic and natural gamma radiation tools. The VSI tool string (geophone and natural gamma radiation tools) was deployed in Hole U1359D only. Of the other five sites, two had to be abandoned before logging due to storms and high seas (Hole U1356A and Hole U1357C), and three did not penetrate deep enough to be logged.

Logging Staff Scientist


  • Patterson, M.O., McKay, R., Naish, T., Escutia, C., Jimenez-Espejo, F.J., Raymo, M.E., Meyers, S.R., Tauxe, L., Brinkhuis, H. & Scientists, I.E., (Fehr, A). 2014. Orbital forcing of the East Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene and Early Pleistocene. Nature Geosci, 7, 841-847, doi: 10.1038/ngeo2273
  • Verma, K., Bhattacharya, S., Biswas, P., Shrivastava, P.K., Pandey, M. & Pant, N.C., et al. (Fehr, A). 2014. Clay mineralogy of the ocean sediments from the Wilkes Land margin, east Antarctica: implications on the paleoclimate, provenance and sediment dispersal pattern. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 103, 2315-2326, doi: 10.1007/s00531-014-1043-4.
  • Orejola, N. & Passchier, S., et al. (Fehr, A). 2014. Sedimentology of lower Pliocene to Upper Pleistocene diamictons from IODP Site U1358, Wilkes Land margin, and implications for East Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics. Antarctic Science, 26, 183-192, doi: 10.1017/S0954102013000527.

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