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
 
CAREER: Deciphering the tectonic history of the Transantarctic Mountains and the Wilkes Subglacial Basin
 

Program Manager:
Dr. Mark Kurz

G-061-M
NSF/PLR Award 1148982

ASC POC/Implementer:
Leslie Blank / Elizabeth Kauffman

Dr. Samantha Hansen (Principal Investigator)
shansen@geo.ua.edu

University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
Department of Geological Sciences
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Northern Transantarctic Mountains / Wilkes Subglacial Basin

Project Description:
An understanding of the tectonic development of Antarctica requires characterization of the seismic structure beneath the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) and the Wilkes Subglacial Basin (WSB). Current constraints on the crustal thickness and seismic velocity structure beneath the TAMs and the WSB are limited, leading to uncertainties over competing geodynamic models. To broaden the investigation of this region, a new 15-station seismic deployment, the Transantarctic Mountains Northern Network (TAMNNET), is being installed across the northern TAMs and the WSB. The study will address four fundamental questions: (1) How variable is the crustal structure beneath the TAMs? (2) Is the WSB characterized by thin crust and thick sedimentary layers? (3) How do seismic velocities vary along strike beneath the TAMs? And (4) How did the TAMs and the WSB originate and how does their formation relate to the geologic history of Antarctica? Data from TAMNNET will be combined with that from other previous and ongoing seismic initiatives and will be analyzed using proven modeling techniques to generate an unprecedented image of the seismic structure beneath the TAMs and the WSB.

Field Season Overview:
The TAMNNET project will be conducted over a five year period. During the first field season, 2012-2013, polar seismic equipment from IRIS-PASSCAL will be deployed at 15 locations across the northern Transantarctic Mountains and onto the East Antarctic plateau. In years two and three, the stations will be serviced and data will be collected. The stations will be decommissioned in year four and the final year will will be dedicated to data analysis and modeling; no fieldwork will be required.

Participants will deploy to McMurdo and use Twin Otter support for transport into the field. Installation of each station is expected to take take 4-5 hours of ground time to install and about half that for service and decommissioning. TAMNNET will re-use the POLENET seismic transect equipment.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Brian DuBay
  • Jordan Graw
  • Samantha Hansen (PI)
  • Lindsey Kenyon
  • Yongcheol Park

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs