2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
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2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Potential direct geologic constraint of ice sheet thickness in the central Transantarctic Mountains during the Pliocene warm period

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Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Julie Palais

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Jennifer Blum / Leslie Blank

Principal Investigator

Dr. Gordon R Bromley

The University of Maine
IQCS/ Department of Geological Sciences
Orono, Maine


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Roberts Massif / Dominion Range


This project proposes to reconstruct the long-term history of glacier variability in the upper Beardmore and Shackleton Glaciers during periods of warmer-than-present climate. Beardmore and Shackleton Glaciers are major outlets of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with extensive ice-free terrain located close to the ice-sheet margin. Resolving the history of ice-surface-elevation change in these regions will: (1) Help identify periods during which the East Antarctic Ice Sheet was at least as extensive as today; (2) Potentially provide insight into ice-sheet behavior on time scales longer than the late Pleistocene; and (3) Provide a benchmark for ice-sheet geometry in long-term Antarctic ice-sheet models.

Field Season Overview

The field team will travel to Shackleton Camp via LC-130 aircraft and then out to two field locations via Twin Otter aircraft. The first camp will be at the Dominion Range where team members will map and collect samples from Pliocene-age glacial deposits of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. They will then fly by Twin Otter to the Roberts Massif, where they will conduct similar work. They will travel by foot and snowmobile for sampling and camp operations. All samples will be shipped to the home institution at the end of the season.

Deploying Team Members

  • Gregory Balco (Co-PI)
  • Allie Balter
  • Gordon Bromley (PI)
  • Christopher Simmons
  • Christopher Simmons