2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

High-resolution reconstruction of Holocene deglaciation in the southern Ross Embayment

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Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Paul Cutler

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Meghan Walker / Leslie Blank

Principal Investigator

Dr. John Stone

University of Washington
Department of Earth and Space Sciences
Seattle, Washington


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Paradise Ridge / Witalis Peak / Robinson Bluff


In previous work, researchers with this project have shown that grounded ice in the Ross Sea receded rapidly from Terra Nova Bay to Beardmore Glacier in the early Holocene. Subsequent retreat to Scott Glacier occurred more gradually, but there is no geological or dating control from this 400-kilometer sector of the Transantarctic Mountains. In this project, researchers will map and date glacial deposits on coastal mountains that constrain the thinning history of Liv and Amundsen glaciers. By dating glacial erratics in elevation transects extending down to the level of floating ice at the mouths of these glaciers, the research team plans to obtain constraints on migration of the grounding line southwards along the Transantarctic Mountains. High-resolution dating will come from Be-10 surface exposure ages as well as from C-14 dates of algae within shorelines from ice-dammed ponds. Sites have been chosen to allow close comparison of these two dating methods, which will constrain Antarctic Be-10 production rates.

Field Season Overview

Five people will deploy for a five week field season on lower Amundsen Glacier where their movements will be supported by Twin Otter aircraft. The team will first travel to Robinson Bluff and then will travel by snowmobile to Witalis Peak. In late December, a Twin Otter will move the camp across Amundsen Glacier to Paradise Ridge. The team will use snowmobiles and Siglin sleds to move equipment from landing sites to camp sites and to daily work locations. Team members will work from a standard lightweight tent camp. They will collect rock, sediment and algae samples. They will store some frozen samples in the Crary lab before shipping them back to the home institution.

Deploying Team Members

  • Jessica Badgeley
  • Joel Gombiner (Team Leader)
  • Brenda Hall (Co-PI)
  • Jillian Pelto