2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
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Assessing the Antarctic contribution to sea-level changes during the last deglaciation: Constraints from Darwin Glacier

Program Manager:
Dr. Julie Palais

Event Number: I-196-M

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Meghan Walker

Dr. Brenda Hall (Principal Investigator)

The University of Maine
Inst for Quat./Climate Stud. and Dept of Geol Sci
Orono, Maine

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Diamond Hill / Lake Wellman

Project Description:
Researchers will reconstruct past changes in the Darwin/Hatherton Glacier system to develop a record of ice extent and thickness in the Ross Sea during the last glacial maximum and subsequent deglaciation. They will map glacial deposits in the mountains adjacent to the glaciers and collect samples of rocks and fossil algae for radiocarbon and cosmogenic surface-exposure dating. They will integrate the data with an ice-flow model to develop a better understanding of the behavior of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last glacial cycle and its contribution to global sea level. Reconstructing past fluctuations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) is critical for understanding the sensitivity of ice volume to sea-level and climatic change. Constraints on past behavior help put ongoing changes into context and provide a basis for predicting future sea-level rise.

Field Season Overview:
Field team members will operate out of a small tent camp at Darwin/Hatherton Glacier. Camp put in will be by Twin Otter aircraft and helicopter. Due to the distance to Darwin Glacier, fuel caching and two helicopters will be allocated for the helicopter operations. At the end of the season samples will be prepared for shipment at in Crary Lab and then shipped to the home institution.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Brenda Hall (PI)
  • Trevor Hillebrand
  • Courtney King
  • John Stone (Co-PI)

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