Start date:
Early November 2009
End date:
Mid December 2010
Allan Hills
Principle Investigator:
Andrei Kurbatov
The University of Maine
Using a multidisciplinary team, researchers propose to develop new methods that will allow them to sample the record of polar climate change and greenhouse gas concentrations back to 2.5+/- 0.2 Ma at the Allan Hills blue ice area. The objective is to extend the record of Antarctic climate and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations to include two important climate periods predating the deep ice core records. Ideally researchers hope to obtain detailed climate records for three time intervals: 1) the Termination 2 and the Eemian, marine isotope stage 5 ranging 110-140 ka, in order to match the authoritative deep ice core records from Antarctica; 2) approximately 100 ka interval which covers the glacial – interglacial cycle within ice dated with flow models as ca. 1.0 Ma; 3) the oldest known ice in the Allan Hills field, dated back to ca. 2.5 Ma. Researchers will travel from McMurdo Station to their field camp site by Twin Otter aircraft. Field work will be focused on the collection of three 100+ meter cores and sampling of ice along several horizontal trenches that provide surface expression of the core material. The first core will be taken from a site of presumed 110-140 ka ice. The second will target 1.0 Ma old ice. The third will be near the location of a 2.5 Ma meteorite layer. Researchers will also collect an array of twelve ice cores, 15 m long, along the ice flow line, and will resurvey GPS stakes from previous seasons. At the end of their season they will return to McMurdo Station with their collected samples, which will then be transported to their home institution.