2015-2016 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2015-2016 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

POLENET Antarctica: Investigating links between geodynamics and ice sheets - Phase 2

POLENET Antarctica: Investigating links between geodynamics and ice sheets - Phase 2


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1249631

Program Manager:
Dr. Douglas Kowalewski

ASC POC/Implementer:
Sune Tamm / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Terry Wilson

Ohio State University
Geological Sciences and Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center
Columbus, Ohio

Project Web Site:
http://polenet.org External Web Site


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: Byrd Camp / Union Glacier


Phase 2 of the Antarctic-POLENET project (ANET) will continue and expand GPS and seismic studies to advance understanding of geodynamic processes and their influence on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The Phase 2 ANET instrumentation will add nine remote continuous GPS stations, to be deployed in collaboration with UK and Italian partners. In partnership with UK colleagues, a high-resolution crustal and mantle seismic array will traverse the deep subglacial basins underlying the catchments of the glacio-dynamically critical Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. Absolute gravity data will provide independent data on crustal uplift and mass change, helping discriminate rebound driven by modern versus ancient ice-mass change. The integrated geodetic and geophysical data will allow testing of key hypotheses about the history and dynamics of the WAIS and interactions with the solid earth beneath. Both the viscoelastic response of the solid earth, constraining mass change since the Last Glacial Maximum, and the elastic response, resulting from mass change within the last few decades, can be modeled from these measurements together with earth properties derived from seismic data. The ice mass change estimates will allow better estimates of Antarctic ice sheet contributions to global sea level change.

Field Season Overview

The field season this year will consist of servicing existing GPS/seismic stations, including the mini-array of temporary seismic stations on ice, deployed in 2014-15. Work planned for this season will be carried out using fixed-wing support from South Pole Station and WAIS Divide field camp, and fixed-wing and helicopter support from McMurdo Station. Eight stations will be serviced from South Pole. In the Amundsen Embayment and Marie Byrd Land sectors, 16 stations will be visited for maintenance/data retrieval. McMurdo Station will be the hub for servicing six to eight existing GPS/seismic stations, and for completing absolute gravity measurements in collaboration with French, New Zealand, and Italian colleagues.

Deploying Team Members

  • Jean-Daniel Bernard
  • David Borrego
  • Melody Eimer
  • Ashley Grijalva
  • Larry Hothem (Team Leader)
  • J.R. Roberts
  • Michael Roberts
  • Yves Rogister
  • David Saddler
  • Mark Whetu
  • Austin White-Gaynor
  • Terry Wilson (PI)