2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Polenet East: An international seismological network for East Antarctica

Program Manager:
Dr. Alexandra Isern


ASC POC/Implementer:
Leslie Blank / Paul Sullivan

Dr. Douglas Wiens (Principal Investigator)

Washington University
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
St. Louis, Missouri

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations:  East Antarctica

Project Description:
This is a continuation of the passive seismic study of the Gamburtsev Mountains which collects data contemporaneously with other Antarctic programs seismic arrays. The research addresses the following questions: (1) How have the Gamburtsev Mountains formed? (2) What is the role of topography and heat flow in the formation of continental ice sheets in East Antarctica? (3) What is the geologic and tectonic history of the East Antarctic craton? (4) How do tectonics and regional heat flow control the formation, distribution and stability of subgalcial lakes in East Antarctica?

Up to this point the data return has been excellent. This analysis is providing the first detailed seismic constraints on crustal and upper mantle structure beneath and surrounding the Gamburtsev Mountains, on the processes which support the high elevation of this region, on the regional distribution of heat flow, and on the tectonic framework of the interior of the East Antarctic shield.

Field Season Overview:
Participants will deploy to McMurdo and East Antarctica to visit each of the eight broadband seismic stations in the POLENET EAST / AGAP seismic array. Last year the stations were fully serviced and batteries were replaced, so this field season the field team will collect data acquired over the past year. They will acclimatize at South Pole and use fixed-wing air support to make day trips into the field.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Patrick Shore (Team Leader)
  • Guy Tytgat

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Curator: Ethan Norris, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs