2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
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CAREER: Deciphering the tectonic history of the Transantarctic Mountains and the Wilkes Subglacial Basin

Program Manager:
Dr. Thomas Wilch

Event Number: G-061-M

ASC POC/Implementer:
Leslie Blank / Elizabeth Kauffman

Dr. Samantha Hansen (Principal Investigator)
http://geo.ua.edu/profile/hansen-samantha/External Non U.S. Government Site

University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
Department of Geological Sciences
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Terra Nova Bay

Project Description:
An understanding of the tectonic development of Antarctica requires characterization of the seismic structure beneath the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM) and the Wilkes Subglacial Basin (WSB). Current constraints on crustal thickness and seismic velocity structure beneath the TAM 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 TAM and the WSB. The study will address four fundamental questions: (1) How variable is the crustal structure beneath the TAM? (2) Is the WSB characterized by thin crust and thick sedimentary layers? (3) How do seismic velocities vary along strike beneath the TAM? And (4) How did the TAM 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 analyzed using proven modeling techniques to generate an unprecedented image of the seismic structure beneath the TAM and the WSB.

Field Season Overview:
During this, the second year of the five-year TAMNNET project, researchers will service and collect data from previously-installed polar seismic equipment from IRIS-PASSCAL at 15 locations across the northern Transantarctic Mountains and the East Antarctic plateau. Research sites will be accessed by Twin Otter aircraft. The Italian and Korean Antarctic programs may also provide some logistical support.

Deploying Team Members:

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

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