2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Ground geophysics survey of Thwaites Glacier


Photo by Rodney Fishbrook, courtesy of the USAP Photo Library. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
C-442-M Research Location(s): Thwaites Glacier

Summary

Event Number:
C-442-M
NSF/OPP Award 1738934 / NERC Award NE/S006672/1

Program Manager:
Dr. Paul Cutler

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Jenny Cunningham / Chad Naughton


Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Sridhar Anandakrishnan
sxa17@psu.edu
Pennsylvania State University
Department of Geosciences and Environment Instit

Project Web Site:
https://thwaitesglacier.org/projects/ghost


Location

Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Thwaites Glacier


Description

The Geophysical Habitat of Subglacial Thwaites (GHOST) project is a part of ITGC (International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration), a multi-disciplinary effort led by the U.S. and U.K. Antarctic programs. This project aims to estimate the properties of the bed beneath Thwaites Glacier in order to improve models and better assess the contribution of this sector of West Antarctica to global sea-level rise. Projecting the retreat rate of Thwaites Glacier, and understanding whether it can stabilize without completely deglaciating the marine basins of West Antarctica, is of critical importance in a warming world. The objectives of this project are to learn: 1) whether basal conditions allow for rapid retreat of the Thwaites Glacier grounding line; 2) whether its retreat may slow or stop on an upstream transverse ridge, and; 3) whether englacial and subglacial conditions allow Thwaites Glacier to rapidly expand its boundaries and deglaciate adjacent marine basins.


Field Season Overview

A team of 24 including USAP scientists, BAS (British Antarctic Survey) scientists, and BAS support staff will deploy for 60 days to conduct seismic and radar surveys along transect lines extending through Thwaites Glacier. They will begin at WAIS Divide, then will travel by Twin Otter and traverse to the end of the transect line and work their way back towards WAIS. They will organize into two teams, one with the objective of conducting seismic surveys, and one focused on radar surveys. Both teams will work from one traverse platform, with traverse vehicles composed of two PistenBully 300s and ten snowmobiles. They will work out of a stationary field camp that will move every week with the traverse. They will also use Twin Otter support to recce the transect line and deploy PASSCAL passive seismic instruments which will be collected at the end of the field season.


Deploying Team Members

  • Sridhar Anandakrishnan (PI)
  • Julie Baum
  • Robert Bingham (Co-PI)
  • Julien Bodart
  • Louise Borthwick
  • Elizabeth Case
  • Knut Christianson (Co-PI)
  • Luke Glazzard
  • Andrew Hoffman
  • Coen Hofstede (Co-PI)
  • David Jamison
  • Florian Koch
  • Tanner Kuhl
  • Helen Ockenden
  • Rebecca Pearce
  • Kiya Riverman
  • Christopher Rush
  • Matthew Shepherd
  • Andrew Smith (Co-PI)
  • Nathan Stevens
  • Catrin Thomas
  • Amanda Willet
  • Peter Young
  • Ole Zeising