2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
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2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Response of the Antarctic ice sheet to the last great global warming

Response of the Antarctic ice sheet to the last great global warming


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Paul Cutler

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Meghan Walker

Principal Investigator

Dr. Brenda Hall

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


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Southern Royal Society Range


The response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to past episodes of rapidly warming climate can be understood through glacial geologic data. Researchers will use a combination of glacial geologic mapping and radiocarbon dating of algal deposits enclosed in recessional moraines at the glacial headlands of the southern Royal Society Range. They aim to reconstruct the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the massive warming of the last glacial/interglacial transition and inform understanding of future ice-sheet response to global warming.

Field Season Overview

Five participants will work at the western margin of McMurdo Sound, concentrated in the southern Royal Society Range. In each season they will deploy to the field and tent camp at three sites for five weeks in late December through January. Field sites will be accessed by foot from camps. Helicopter support will be required for camp put-ins and moves and for three day trips to remote sites each season.

Field work will consist of ground-truthing satellite and aerial imagery and walking sampling transects to collect algal and rock samples for radiocarbon dating. Collected samples will be shipped off-continent for analysis. The group will not perform work in Crary Laboratory, but will require use of an office for short periods before and after field deployment.

Deploying Team Members

  • Alexandra Balter
  • Brenda Hall (PI)