Start date:
November 2015
End date:
January 2016
Sperm Bluff, Mt Discovery
Principle Investigator:
Dr. David R Marchant
Boston University
This project will develop high-resolution maps of drifts deposited from grounded marine-based ice and alpine glaciers on islands and peninsulas in McMurdo Sound. In addition, the researchers will acquire multi-clast/multi-nuclide cosmogenic analyses of these mapped drift sheets and alpine moraines and use regional climate modeling to shed light on the range of possible environmental conditions in the McMurdo region during periods of grounded-ice expansion and recession. The researchers will also make use of geological records for ice sheet and alpine glacier fluctuations preserved on the flanks of Mount Discovery, Black Island, and Brown Peninsula. Drifts deposited from grounded, marine-based ice will yield spatial constraints for former advances and retreats of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Moraines from alpine glaciers, hypothesized to be of interglacial origin, could yield a first-order record of hydrologic change in the region. Synthesizing the field data, the team proposes to improve the resolution of existing regional-scale climate models for the Ross Embayment. The overall approach and anticipated results will provide the first steps towards linking the marine and terrestrial records in this critical sector of Antarctica.