2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
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Multinuclide approach to systematically evaluate the scatter in surface exposure ages in Antarctica and to develop consistent alpine glacier chronologies

Program Manager:
Dr. Mark Kurz

Event Number: G-085-M

ASC POC/Implementer:
Sune Tamm / Meghan Walker

Dr. Kate Swanger (Principal Investigator)

University of Massachusetts
Lowell, Massachusetts

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Dry Valleys / Olympus Range / Stocking Glacier

Project Description:
By combining a multinuclide approach, detailed field experiments, glacial geologic mapping, rock-mechanics studies and climate modeling, researchers plan to investigate the impact of polar surface processes (weathering, burial by cold-based glaciers) on the application of cosmogenic exposure dating. The project has two specific goals: (1) generate an alpine glacier chronology as a robust record of regional climate variation in the McMurdo Sound region over the past few million years; and (2) evaluate effects of weathering, burial and pre-exposure on exposure ages in polar deserts. To achieve these research goals, the field team plans to gather rock samples for exposure dating from multiple alpine moraine systems in Taylor and Wright valleys, the western Olympus Range and Quartermain Range. They will also gather samples from glaciers in Taylor and Wright valleys in order to address pre-exposure of rock samples and will perform in-situ experiments and analyses designed to quantify present-day weathering processes and rates in each location. In addition, they will gather meteorology data from each location for use in rock-weathering models.

Field Season Overview:
Five field team members will set up remote camps at four locations in the Dry Valleys, remaining at each location for about 12 days. They will conduct helicopter-supported fieldwork in the lower Taylor Valley, Pearse Valley, and Wright Valley, where they will retrieve data from long-term meteorologic stations, as well as complete retrieval of weathering and meteorological equipment for short term monitoring sites.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Christopher Ford
  • Catherine Radonic
  • Kate Swanger (PI)

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