2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
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2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Constraining West Antarctic Ice Sheet elevation during the last interglacial

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G-065-M Research Location(s): Mount Waesche


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1744927

Program Manager:
Dr. Douglas Kowalewski

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Bija Sass

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Jerry X Mitrovica
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Mount Waesche


This project aims to place minimum constraints on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet elevations at Mount Waesche, a young volcano in Marie Byrd Land near the dome of the ice sheet, during recent interglacial periods. The team will use cosmogenic nuclide inventories and 40 Ar/39 Ar dating of lava flows near and below the present ice level to identify and date lower-than-present ice levels.

Field Season Overview

In the first year of the project, the team will focus on selecting suitable sites for the blue-ice drilling that will take place in the second season. In order to identify lava flows that have ages and lithologies that are suitable targets for drilling, the group will map lava flows on the flank of Mount Waesche that extend under the present ice surface and collect samples for exposure and 40 Ar/39 Ar dating. The team will map subglacial topography using ice-penetrating radar to select optimal locations for shallow ice drilling. They will also set stakes to measure ice ablation and movement between the two field seasons. All activities will take place within five miles of the group's campsite.

Deploying Team Members

  • Robert Ackert (Team Leader)
  • Seth Campbell (Co-PI)
  • Nelia Dunbar
  • Jeremy McComas
  • Bill McIntosh
  • William McIntosh
  • Matthew Zimmerer