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
Submarine groundwater and freshwater inputs along the Western Antarctic Peninsula

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne


ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Philip Spindler

Dr. David Corbett (Principal Investigator)
http://ecusstorm.blogspot.com/External Non U.S. Government Site

East Carolina University
Department of Geological Sciences
Greenville, North Carolina

Supporting Stations:  ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station
Research Locations:  Local boating area / Western Antarctic Peninsula

Project Description:
This project seeks to determine: (1) submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) fluxes to nearshore environments of the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP); (2) the relative contribution of iron and nutrients from this source to the receiving waters compared to fresh meltwater; and (3) the rate of across-shelf mixing that potentially introduce iron and other constituents to offshore waters. The WAP coastal environment provides a unique opportunity to investigate a previously unmeasured source of iron and nutrients to coastal waters and further our understanding of glacial melting and the land-sea interactions that can be applicable to other polar and alpine regions. Researchers will conduct direct and indirect measurements to quantify SGD, discern freshwater flow, quantify iron and nutrient fluxes, and measure offshore transport and mixing.

Field Season Overview:
Fieldwork for this study will be conducted near Palmer Station on the Western Antarctic Peninsula from January to March. Based on an initial survey of 20-30 sites, subsets of 15-20 sampling locations will be set up as shore-normal transects and sampled weekly throughout the field campaign. Researchers will also collect interstitial water along the shorezone adjacent to the water sampling area. Porewater samples will be collected at 10, 30, 100 centimeter depths, and to maximum penetration near the waterline where sediments allow penetration of the sampling mechanism. In addition, the field team will deploy a “seepage meter” nearshore to measure groundwater discharge directly. Most of the samples will be analyzed on station and some will be returned to the home institution.

Deploying Team Members:

  • David Corbett (PI)
  • Jared Crenshaw
  • Kimberly Null (Co-PI)
  • Richard Peterson
  • Richard Viso
  • John Walsh

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