2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
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2017-2018 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 1745074

Program Manager:
Dr. Douglas Kowalewski

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Terry Wilson

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

Project Web Site:


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


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

In the 2017-18 season, the POLENET project will work from South Pole Station, Siple Dome, WAIS Divide and McMurdo. The goals of this season are to (1) decommission a series of instruments and (2) provide maintenance, if required, to sites that will remain in service beyond the 2017-18 season (subject to continued funding). Continued operation of the instrument network beyond 2017-18 is subject to NSF approval and support. The team will use helicopter and fixed wing transport from McMurdo Station as well as fixed wing support from South Pole, Siple Dome, and WAIS Divide. Team members will decommision seismic and GPS instruments at Mount Paterson and will service instruments at Clark Mountains and Mount Carbone while based at Siple Dome. POLENET participants working out of South Pole Station will decommission seven seismic stations and service two sites. In the Amundsen Embayment and Marie Byrd Land sectors, the team will perform maintenance and retrieve data from nine site locations. McMurdo Station will be the hub for the decommissioning of six instrument systems at four sites using Twin Otter and the decommissioning of three GPS systems at three locations by helicopter. Team members will also make one service visit while based at McMurdo Station. Priority for GPS and seismic site visits is as follows: (1) Pulling out sites that are being decommissioned, (2) Servicing sites that have known problems and/or have not been visited in 3 years; and (3) Visiting sites needing minor maintenance and/or to download seismic data.

Deploying Team Members

  • Patrick Shore