The principal drilling objectives of Leg 178 are (1) to extract and compare high-resolution records of the past 10 m.y. of continental glaciation contained in topset beds (paleoshelf) of the glacial prograded wedge at the Antarctic Peninsula Pacific margin, in foreset beds (paleoslope) of the same sequence groups, and in a hemipelagic sediment drift on the continental rise; (2) to compile an optimal high-resolution history of grounded ice-volume fluctuation and compare it with low-latitude records of sea-level change and isotopic estimates of ice-volume change over the past 10 m.y.; (3) to assess the main controls on sediment transport and deposition during glacial intervals and use the insights gained to optimize investigation of the longer, more complicated East Antarctic record of glaciation and glacio-eustatic sea-level change; and (4) to extract an ultrahigh resolution Holocene record from a protected basin on the inner continental shelf for comparison with similar records from the ice sheets and lower-latitude sites to investigate decadal- and millennial-scale climatic variation.

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