Start date:
End date:
New Harbor, Taylor Valley; Upper Lake Victoria, Victoria Valley; Beacon Valley , and Mount Fleming
Principle Investigator:
Dr. Ronald Sletten
University of Washington
This project seeks to elucidate the formation, stability, and evolution of ground ice in the hyper-arid climate of the McMurdo Dry Valleys by integrating automated microclimate measurements of air and soil parameters, collection and analysis of ground ice samples, and numerical modeling of ground ice stability and formation. Researchers will focus on the condensation, sublimation, and transport of water. These processes are influenced greatly by salts, which are abundant in Antarctic soils and which influence ionic diffusion and weathering processes by lowering the melting point of ice and increasing the amount of unfrozen water at subzero temperatures. Thus, the study will also investigate the dynamics of salts and subsurface ice and their interactions at sites of varying age, ice content, and microclimate.