2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
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2017-2018 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 / Leslie Blank

Principal Investigator

Dr. John Stone

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


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Duncan Mountains / The Tusk / Mounts Henson and Mason / Cape Irwyn


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

Four participants will work from three successive tent camps over the course of approximately five weeks, spending one to two weeks at each location. Sampling sites are within walking distance of the three camps in the Duncan Mountains, at The Tusk/Mount Henson, and at Cape Irwyn/Mt. Mason. All camps will be helicopter-supported. The team will also make one helicopter-supported day trip to Mount Roth (84° 34.99980 S, 172° 22.00020 W) from the Mount Mason/Cape Irwyn camp.

Deploying Team Members

  • Joel Gombiner
  • Brenda Hall (Co-PI)
  • Jillian Pelto
  • John Stone (PI)