Start date:
Jan 2013
Howchin Glacier
Principle Investigator:
Dr Richard Levy
GNS Science
The overall goal of this work is to understand the retreat of Antarctic ice sheets during the last deglaciation (20,000 years ago to present). During this period the East and West Antarctic Ice Sheets receded from advanced positions at the continental shelf margin to the present‐day ice sheet configuration. We do not currently know when the ice sheet started to retreat, whether this retreat was gradual or episodic, and when it stopped. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet has been suggested as one of the possible sources a 10‐20 m global sea level rise which occurred between 15‐14,000 years ago. However, work to date in East Antarctica does not support this view. We aim to use exposure age dating to help test the hypothesis that Antarctica was the source of this meltwater pulse. Our objective during this field season is to map and date glacial deposits in the lower section of the Mackay Glacier. Results will be integrated with other glaciological and geological data to help constrain a numerical ice sheet for this area, which in turn will be used to help understand the response of these glaciers to climate forcing.