The goal of this project is to develop a Web-based Antarctic gravity database to globally facilitate scientific use of gravity data in Antarctic studies. This compilation will provide an important new tool to the Antarctic Earth science community from the geologist placing field observations in a regional context to the seismologist studying continental scale mantle structure. The gravity database will complement the parallel projects underway to develop new continental bedrock (BEDMAP) and magnetic (ADMAP) maps of Antarctica. An international effort will parallel these ongoing projects in contacting the Antarctic geophysical community, identifying existing data sets, agreeing upon protocols for the use of data contributed to the database and finally assembling a new continental scale gravity map. The project has three principal stages. The first stage will be to investigate the accuracy and resolution of currently available high resolution satellite derived gravity data and quantify spatial variations in both accuracy and resolution. The second stage of this project will be to develop an interactive method of accessing existing satellite, shipboard, land based, and airborne gravity data via a Web based interface. The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory RIDGE Multi-beam bathymetry database will be used as a template for this project. The existing online RIDGE database allows users to access the raw data, the gridded data and raster images of the seafloor topography. A similar structure will be produced for the existing Antarctic gravity data. The third stage of this project will be to develop an international program to compile existing gravity data south of 60°S. This project will be discussed with leaders of both the ADMAP and BEDMAP efforts and the appropriate working groups of SCAR. A preliminary map of existing gravity data will be presented at the Antarctic Earth Science meeting in Wellington in 1999. A gravity working group meeting will be held in conjunction with the Wellington meeting to reach a consensus on the protocols for placing data into the database. By the completion of the project, existing gravity data will be identified and international protocols for placing this data in the on-line database will have been defined. The process of archiving the gravity data into the database will be an ongoing project as additional data become available.
This project contributes to the joint initiative launched by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to substantially improve decadal and longer-term projections of ice loss and sea-level rise originating from Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. Satellite observations extending over the last 25 years show that Thwaites Glacier is rapidly thinning and accelerating. Over this same period, the Thwaites grounding line, the point at which the glacier transitions from sitting on the seabed to floating, has retreated. Oceanographic studies demonstrate that the main driver of these changes is incursion of warm water from the deep ocean that flows beneath the floating ice shelf and causes basal melting. The period of satellite observation is not long enough to determine how a large glacier, such as Thwaites, responds to long-term and near-term changes in the ocean or the atmosphere. As a result, records of glacier change from the pre-satellite era are required to build a holistic understanding of glacier behavior. Ocean-floor sediments deposited at the retreating grounding line and further offshore contain these longer-term records of changes in the glacier and the adjacent ocean. An additional large unknown is the topography of the seafloor and how it influences interactions of landward-flowing warm water with Thwaites Glacier and affects its stability. Consequently, this project focuses on the seafloor offshore from Thwaites Glacier and the records of past glacial and ocean change contained in the sediments deposited by the glacier and surrounding ocean.<br/><br/>Uncertainty in model projections of the future of Thwaites Glacier will be significantly reduced by cross-disciplinary investigations seaward of the current grounding line, including extracting the record of decadal to millennial variations in warm water incursion, determining the pre-satellite era history of grounding-line migration, and constraining the bathymetric pathways that control flow of warm water to the grounding line. Sedimentary records and glacial landforms preserved on the seafloor will allow reconstruction of changes in drivers and the glacial response to them over a range of timescales, thus providing reference data that can be used to initiate and evaluate the reliability of models. Such data will further provide insights on the influence of poorly understood processes on marine ice sheet dynamics. This project will include an integrated suite of marine and sub-ice shelf research activities aimed at establishing boundary conditions seaward of the Thwaites Glacier grounding line, obtaining records of the external drivers of change, improving knowledge of processes leading to collapse of Thwaites Glacier, and determining the history of past change in grounding line migration and conditions at the glacier base. These objectives will be achieved through high-resolution geophysical surveys of the seafloor and analysis of sediments collected in cores from the inner shelf seaward of the Thwaites Glacier grounding line using ship-based equipment, and from beneath the ice shelf using a corer deployed through the ice shelf via hot water drill holes.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
The Weddell seal is the southern-most mammal in the world, having a circumpolar distribution around Antarctica; the McMurdo Sound population in Antarctica is one of the best-studied mammal populations on earth. However, despite this, an understanding of how populations around the continent will fare under climate change is poorly understood. A complicating matter is the potential effects of a commercial enterprise in the Antarctic: a fishery targeting toothfish, which are important prey for Weddell seals. Although the species is easily detected and counted during the breeding season, no reliable estimates of continent-wide Weddell seal numbers exist, due to the logistic difficulties of surveying vast regions of Antarctica. Large-scale estimates are needed to understand how seal populations are responding to the fishery and climate change, because these drivers of change operate at scales larger than any single population, and may affect seals differently in different regions of the continent. We will take advantage of the ease of detectability of darkly colored seals when they the on ice to develop estimates of abundance from satellite images. This project will generate baseline data on the global distribution and abundance of Weddell seals around the Antarctic and will link environmental variables to population changes to better understand how the species will fare as their sea ice habitat continues to change. These results will help disentangle the effects of climate change and fishery operations, results that are necessary for appropriate international policy regarding fishery catch limits, impacts on the environment, and the value of marine protected areas. The project will also further the NSF goals of training new generations of scientists and of making scientific discoveries available to the general public. It will engage "arm-chair" scientists of all ages through connections with several non-governmental organizations and the general public. Anyone with access to the internet, including people who are physically unable to participate in field research directly, can participate in this project while simultaneously learning about multiple aspects of polar ecology through the project's interactive website. <br/><br/>Specifically, this research project will: 1) Quantify the distribution of Weddell seals around Antarctica and 2) Determine the impact of environmental variables (such as fast ice extent, ocean productivity, bathymetry) on habitat suitability and occupancy. To do this, the project will crowd-source counting of seals on high-resolution satellite images via a commercial citizen science platform. Variation in seal around the continent will then be related to habitat variables through generalized linear models. Specific variables, such as fast ice extent will be tested to determine their influence on population variability through both space and time. The project includes a rigorous plan for ensuring quality control in the dataset including ground truth data from other, localized projects concurrently funded by the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Science Program.
The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest existing ice shelf in Antarctica, and is currently stabilizing significant portions of the land ice atop the Antarctic continent. An ice shelf begins where the land ice goes afloat on the ocean, and as such, the Ross Ice Shelf interacts with the ocean and seafloor below, and the land ice behind. Currently, the Ross Ice Shelf slows down, or buttresses, the fast flowing ice streams of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), a marine-based ice sheet, which if melted, would raise global sea level by 3-4 meters. The Ross Ice Shelf average ice thickness is approximately 350 meters, and it covers approximately 487,000 square kilometers, an area slightly larger than the state of California. The Ross Ice Shelf has disappeared during prior interglacial periods, suggesting in the future it may disappear again. Understanding the dynamics, stability and future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet therefore requires in-depth knowledge of the Ross Ice Shelf. The ROSETTA-ICE project brings together scientists from 4 US institutions and from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited, known as GNS Science, New Zealand. The ROSETTA-ICE data on the ice shelf, the water beneath the ice shelf, and the underlying rocks, will allow better predictions of how the Ross Ice Shelf will respond to changing climate, and therefore how the WAIS will behave in the future. The interdisciplinary ROSETTA-ICE team will train undergraduate and high school students in cutting edge research techniques, and will also work to educate the public via a series of vignettes integrating ROSETTA-ICE science with the scientific and human history of Antarctic research.<br/><br/>The ROSETTA-ICE survey will acquire gravity and magnetics data to determine the water depth beneath the ice shelf. Radar, LIDAR and imagery systems will be used to map the Ross Ice Shelf thickness and fine structure, crevasses, channels, debris, surface accumulation and distribution of marine ice. The high resolution aerogeophysical data over the Ross Ice Shelf region in Antarctica will be acquired using the IcePod sensor suite mounted externally on an LC-130 aircraft operating from McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Field activities will include ~36 flights on LC-130 aircraft over two field seasons in Antarctica. The IcePod instrument suite leverages the unique experience of the New York Air National Guard operating in Antarctica for NSF scientific research as well as infrastructure and logistics. The project will answer questions about the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf in future climate, and the geotectonic evolution of the Ross Ice Shelf Region, a key component of the West Antarctic Rift system. The comprehensive benchmark data sets acquired will enable broad, interdisciplinary analyses and modeling, which will also be performed as part of the project. ROSETTA-ICE will illuminate Ross ice sheet-ice shelf-ocean dynamics as the system nears a critical juncture but still is intact. Through interacting with an online data visualization tool, and comparing the ROSETTA-ICE data and results from earlier studies, we will engage students and young investigators, equipping them with new capabilities for the study of critical earth systems that influence global climate.
Intellectual Merit:<br/>This project will produce a new compilation of Ross Sea seismic stratigraphy, including new interpretations, that can be used to provide boundary conditions on the tectonic and glacial evolution of West Antarctica and the Ross Sea. The principal goals include compilation of, and interpretation of, all available existing seismic reflection data for the Western Ross Sea, coupled with geophysical modeling to produce paleo-bathymetric reconstructions for the entire 800 km-wide Ross Sea. Specific tasks will include: extending existing work on mapping travel time to reflectors, identifying relations in the seismic data that indicate subsidence through sea level, constructing velocity models for converting travel time to thickness, and using the velocity models to estimate density and porosity of sediments for backstripping analysis. Modeling/backstripping efforts will be used to constrain past bathymetry. Digital interpretations and stratigraphic grids will be provided as supplements to publications. In that way the results of this study can be used in thermal subsidence modeling and restoration of eroded rock to other parts of Ross Embayment and Marie Byrd Land by others. Digital products may be provided in advance of publication to modelers in a way that will not hurt publication chances.<br/><br/>Broader impacts: <br/>The results of this work will be important for paleo-geographic reconstructions of Antarctica and will therefore be of use to a broad range of researchers, particularly those working in the Ross Sea region. The digital products can be used to test models for the past fluctuations of West Antarctic ice sheets, and in planning for future sediment drilling projects. Two undergraduates to be chosen from applicants will be involved in summer internships held at the University of Rhode Island. Outreach will also include a new website and one or more Wikipedia entries related to Ross Sea sub-sea floor characteristics. The project includes an international collaboration with Dr. Chiara Sauli and others at Instituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS) in Italy.
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is believed to be vulnerable to climate change as it is grounded below sea level, is drained by rapidly flowing ice streams and is fringed by floating ice shelves subject to melting by incursions of relatively warm Antarctic circumpolar water. Currently, the most rapidly thinning glaciers in Antarctica occur in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Sea sectors. This study seeks to place the present day observations into a longer-term geological context over a broad scale by high-resolution swath bathymetric mapping of continental shelf sea floor features that indicate past ice presence and behavior. Gaps in existing survey coverage of glacial lineations and troughs indicating ice flow direction and paleo-grounding zone wedges over the Ross, Amundsen and Bellingshausen Sea sectors are targeted. The surveys will be conducted as part of the 2010 Icebreaker Oden science opportunity and will take advantage of the vessel?s state-of-the-art swath mapping system.<br/><br/>Broader impacts:<br/>This activity will supplement and complement more focused regional studies by US, Swedish, UK, French, Japanese and Polish collaborators also sailing on the Oden. The PI will compile bathymetric data to be acquired by the Oden and other ships in the region over the duration of the project into the existing bathymetric data base. The compiled data set will be made publically available through the NSF founded Antarctic Multibeam Bathymetry and Geophysical Data Synthesis (AMBS) site. It will also be integrated into the GEBCO International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO) and so significantly improve the basis for ship navigation in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. Undergraduate students will be involved in the research under supervision of the PI via the Lamont summer internship program. The PI is a young investigator and this will be his first NSF grant as a PI.
This award supports a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) project to observe the current weakened state of the Scar Inlet Ice Shelf, and potentially capture data during its anticipated disintegration. The Scar Inlet Ice Shelf (SIIS) is the southern remnant of the former Larsen B Ice Shelf, which disintegrated in March of 2002. Since then, the SIIS has weakened significantly but has not yet broken up. Cooler conditions than those seen prior to 2006 have reduced the chance of a disintegration in recent years, although a single warm season is likely to be enough to trigger such an event. The predicted "Super El Nino" for this austral summer may have significant effects on Antarctica's weather, potentially leading to a break-up or disintegration this year. Given the very weak state of the SIIS, it is urgent that we act now to better understand the processes involved in shelf disintegration or break-up of ice shelves. The goal of this work is to collect several key data sets, publish initial observations and preliminary conclusions, and then make the complete data record available to all scientists.<br/><br/>Extreme changes in the stress conditions on the SIIS resulted from both the loss of the Larsen B ice plate and the continued inflow of ice from three large glaciers (Flask, Leppard, and Starbuck). The SIIS now has a number of large rifts and it is expected to break up or disintegrate in the very near future. Past research has made use of satellite data and weather instruments, establishing many of the current ideas regarding ice shelf break-ups and ice shelf weakening. Additional ground-based data to be collected under this study will test a number of hypotheses regarding pre-disintegration characteristics, triggering mechanisms, fracturing processes, runaway feedback effects, and stabilizing mechanisms. The project will collect extensive multi-instrument field observations of the SIIS and possibly capture a major disintegration event. In collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, a team of 4 people will be deployed via Twin Otter for up to 4 weeks to a site with a broad view of the shelf and will install several temporary observing instruments there. The study derives its intellectual merit from the role of the Antarctic Peninsula as a microcosm of how other parts of Antarctica might evolve and de-glaciate in the next few centuries. The broader impacts include an opportunity to educate the public about the anticipated collapse of this remnant ice shelf and its relationship to future changes in Antarctica. The potential for wide media coverage (through a connection with the National Geographic) will underscore the critical changes scientists are observing in the crysophere driven by climate change. This proposal requires field work in Antarctica.
Previous studies of the Indo-Pacific region of Antarctica show that the margin of the ice sheet in this region has advanced and retreated into deep interior basins many times in the past. The apparent instability of this region makes it an important target for study in terms of understanding the future of the East Antarctic ice sheet and sea level rise. This project will study a number of processes that control the ice-shelf stability of this region, with the aim of improving projections of the rate and magnitude of future sea-level rise. This project will engage a range of students and train this next generation of scientists in the complex, interdisciplinary issue of ice-ocean interaction. The project will integrate geophysical data collected from aircraft over three critical sections of the East Antarctic grounding line (Totten Glacier, Denman Glacier, and Cook Ice Shelf) with an advanced ocean model. Using Australian and French assets, the team will collect new data around Denman Glacier and Cook Ice Shelf whereas analysis of Totten Glacier will be based on existing data. The project will assess three hypotheses to isolate the processes that drive the differences in observed grounding line thinning among these three glaciers: 1. bathymetry and large-scale ocean forcing control cavity circulation; 2. ice-shelf draft and basal morphology control cavity circulation; 3. subglacial freshwater input across the grounding line controls cavity circulation. The key outcomes of this new project will be to: 1. evaluate of ice-ocean coupling in areas of significant potential sea-level contribution; 2. relate volume changes of grounded and floating ice to regional oceanic heat transport and sub-ice shelf ocean dynamics in areas of significant potential sea-level and meridional overturning circulation impacts; and 3. improve boundary conditions to evaluate mass, heat, and freshwater budgets of East Antarctica's continental margins.
Intellectual Merit: <br/>This project will determine the potential vulnerability of key ice streams to incursions of warmer ocean water onto the continental shelf and if this mechanism could already explain any of the observed thinning of the ice sheet. It will provide important constrains on ice dynamic of the investigated section of the EAIS, and thus will be critical for future ice sheet models and provide mechanisms for EAIS contributions to past sea level high-stand. The PI proposes to investigate four key ice stream systems on the continental shelf between ~90Â°E and 160Â°E. They will use multibeam bathymetry to identify if and where cross-shelf troughs exist to help determine whether these troughs could provide potential pathways for warmer ocean water. Furthermore, detailed analysis of morphological features of these troughs could provide information on past ice dynamic, maximum extent, and flow direction of related paleo ice streams. The PIs will also conduct water column measurements along these troughs and on the continental slope to determine whether warmer ocean water could enter the shelf in the near future, or if such water has already entered any troughs, and thus might be causing the observed thinning of some ice streams.<br/><br/>Broader impacts: <br/>This project includes the participation and support of undergraduate and graduate students in field work and data analysis. The possible involvement of a PolarTREC teacher and the Earth2Class teachers program will reach out to K-12 students.
The Office of Polar Programs, Antarctic Science Division, Ocean & Climate Systems Program has made this award to support a multidisciplinary effort to study the upwelling of relatively warm deep water onto the Amundsen Sea continental shelf and how it relates to atmospheric forcing and bottom bathymetry and how the warm waters interact with both glacial and sea ice. This study constitutes a contribution of a coordinated research effort in the region known as the Amundsen Sea Embayment Project or ASEP. Previous work by the PI and others has shown that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been found to be melting faster, perhaps by orders of magnitude, than ice sheets elsewhere around Antarctica, excluding those on the Peninsula. Submarine channels that incise the continental shelf are thought to provide fairly direct access of relatively warm circum polar deep water to the cavity under the floating extension of the ice shelf. Interactions with sea ice en route can modify the upwelled waters. The proposed investigations build on previous efforts by the PI and colleagues to use hydrographic measurements to put quantitative bounds on the rate of glacial ice melt by relatively warm seawater. <br/>The region can be quite difficult to access due to sea ice conditions and previous hydrographic measurements have been restricted to the austral summer time frame. In this project it was proposed to obtain the first austral spring hydrographic data via CTD casts and XBT drops (September-October 2007) as part of a separately funded cruise (PI Steve Ackley) the primary focus of which is sea-ice conditions to be studied while the RV Nathanial B Palmer (RV NBP) drifts in the ice pack. This includes opportunistic sampling for pCO2 and TCO2. A dedicated cruise in austral summer 2009 will follow this opportunity. The principal objectives of the dedicated field program are to deploy a set of moorings with which to characterize temporal variability in warm water intrusions onto the shelf and to conduct repeat hydrographic surveying and swath mapping in targeted areas, ice conditions permitting. Automatic weather stations are to be deployed in concert with the program, sea-ice observations will be undertaken from the vessel and the marine cavity beneath the Pine Island may be explored pending availability of the British autonomous underwater vehicle Autosub 3. These combined ocean-sea ice-atmosphere observations are aimed at a range of model validations. A well-defined plan for making data available as well as archiving in a timely fashion should facilitate a variety of modeling efforts and so extend the value of the spatially limited observations. <br/>Broader impacts: This project is relevant to an International Polar Year research emphasis on ice sheet dynamics focusing in particular on the seaward ocean-ice sheet interactions. Such interactions must be clarified for understanding the potential for sea level rise by melt of the West Antarctic ice Sheet. The project entails substantive international partnerships (British Antarctic Survey and Alfred Wegner Institute) and complements other Amundsen Sea Embayment Project proposals covering other elements of ice sheet dynamics. The proposal includes partial support for 2 graduate students and 2 post docs. Participants from the Antarctic Artists and Writers program are to take part in the cruise and so aid in outreach. In addition, the project is to be represented in the Lamont-Doherty annual open house.
This award supports a three-year study to isolate essential physical processes affecting Thwaites Glacier (TG) in the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) of West Antarctica using a suite of existing numerical models in conjunction with existing and International Polar Year (IPY)-proposed data sets. Four different models will be utilized to explore the effects of embayment geometry, ice-shelf buttressing, basal-stress distribution, surface mass balance, surface climate, and inland dynamic perturbations on the present and future dynamics of TG. This particular collection of models is ideally suited for the broad nature of this investigation, as they incorporate efficient and complementary simplifications of the stress field (shallow-ice and shelf-stream), system geometry (1-d and 2-d plan-view and flowline; depth-integrated and depth-dependent), and mass-momentum energy coupling (mechanical and thermo-mechanical). The models will be constrained and validated by data sets (including regional maps of ice thickness, surface elevation, basal topography, ice surface velocity, and potential fields) and geophysical data analyses (including increasing the spatial resolution of surface elevations, improving regional estimates of geothermal flux, and characterizing the sub-glacial interface of grounded ice as well as the grounding-zone transition between grounded and floating ice). The intellectual merit of the research focuses on several of the NSF Glaciology program's emphases, including: ice dynamics, numerical modeling, and remote sensing of ice sheets. In addition, the research directly addresses the following specific NSF objectives: "investigation of the physics of fast glacier flow with emphasis on processes at glacier beds"; "investigation of ice-shelf stability"; and "identification and quantification of the feedback between ice dynamics and climate change". The broader impacts of this research effort will help answer societally relevant questions of future ice sheet stability and sea-level change. The research also will aid in the early career development of two young investigators and will contribute to the education of both graduate and undergraduate students directly involved in the research, and results will be incorporated into courses and informal presentations.
This study will investigate how the Antarctic Slope Front and continental slope morphology determine the exchanges of mass, heat, and fresh water between the shelf and the deep ocean, in particular those leading to outflows of dense water into intermediate and deep layers of the adjacent basins and into the world ocean circulation <br/>While the importance to the global ocean circulation and climate of cold water masses originating in the Antarctic is unquestioned, the processes by which these water masses enter the deep ocean circulation are not. The primary goal of this work therefore is to identify the principal physical processes that govern the transfer of shelf-modified dense water into intermediate and deep layers of the adjacent deep ocean. At the same time, it seeks to understand the compensatory poleward flow of waters from the oceanic regime. The upper continental slope has been identified as the critical gateway for the exchange of shelf and deep ocean waters. Here the topography, velocity and density fields associated with the nearly ubiquitous front must strongly influence the advective and turbulent transfer of water properties between the shelf and oceanic regimes. The study has four specific objectives:  Determine the mean frontal structure and the principal scales of variability, and estimate the role of the front on cross-slope exchanges and mixing of adjacent water masses;  Determine the influence of slope topography and bathymetry on frontal location and outflow of dense Shelf Water;  Establish the role of frontal instabilities, benthic boundary layer transports, tides and other oscillatory processes on cross-slope advection and fluxes; and  Assess the effect of diapycnal mixing, lateral mixing identified through intrusions, and nonlinearities in the equation of state on the rate of descent and the fate of outflowing, near-freezing Shelf Water.
9909734<br/>Anderson<br/><br/>This award, provided by the Antarctic Geology and Geophysics Program of the Office of Polar Programs, supports research on the glaciomarine geology of the continental shelves of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. It is hypothesized that the different glacial systems of the Antarctic Peninsula region have been more responsive to climate change and sea-level rise than either the West Antarctic or East Antarctic ice sheets. This is due mainly to the smaller size of these ice masses and the higher latitude location of the peninsula. Indeed, ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula are currently retreating at rates of up to a kilometer per year. But are these changes due to recent atmospheric warming in the region or are they simply the final phase of retreat since the last glacial maximum?<br/><br/>This project hypothesizes that the deglacial history of the Antarctic Peninsula region has been quite complex, with different glacial systems retreating at different rates and at different times. This complex recessional history reflects the different sizes as well as different climatic and physiographic settings of glacial systems in the region. An understanding of the Late Pleistocene to Holocene glacial history of the Antarctic Peninsula glacial systems is needed to address how these systems responded to sea-level and climate change during that time interval. This investigation acquire new marine geological and geophysical data from the continental shelf to determine if and when different glacial systems were grounded on the shelf, to establish the extent of grounded ice, and to examine the history of glacial retreat. The project will build on an extensive seismic data set and hundreds of sediment cores collected along the Peninsula during earlier (1980's) cruises. Key to this investigation is the acquisition of swath bathymetry, side-scan sonar and very high-resolution sub-bottom (chirp) profiles from key drainage outlets. These new data will provide the necessary geomorphologic and stratigraphic framework for reconstructing the Antarctic Peninsula glacial record. Anticipated results will help constrain models for future glacier and ice sheet activity.
This award supports a project to test whether Kamb Ice Stream (formerly Ice Stream C (ISC)), an ice stream<br/>that is thought to have stopped ~150 years ago, may be already in the process of restarting. If yes, it will help establish what is the rate of ice stream reactivation and what mechanisms are controlling this rate. If there is no evidence for ongoing ice stream reactivation, the physical controls that are preventing it will be examined and alternative scenarios for near-future evolution of this ice stream will be explored. One such scenario is an increase in ice diversion toward the neighboring Whillans Ice Stream. Such diversion may help prevent a complete stoppage of Whillans Ice Stream,which has been slowing down for at least the last 24 years. This project will consist of two components: (1) field observations of bed properties,geometry of internal radar reflectors, as well as surface strain rates and velocity/topography changes using Ice-Penetrating Radar and differential Global Positioning System, (2) numerical modeling study of near future(~100-1000 years) evolution of Kamb Ice Stream. The field component will be focused on the bulge-to-trunk transition, which is located at the present time just downstream of the so-called camp UpC. Reactivation of Kamb Ice Stream should be reflected in a downstream migration of the bulge-trunk transition at possibly high rates (bulge migration rates of ~km/yr occur on surging mountain glaciers). The modeling<br/>component will be used to generate predictions regarding the near-future behavior of Kamb Ice Stream. This project will provide training opportunities for at least two undergraduate students (per year) at St. Olaf College and for one<br/>undergraduate student (per year) at UCSC. This collaboration will bring together scientists from three different types of US institutions: (1) a liberal arts college (St.Olaf College), (2) a public research university (UCSC) and (3) a NASA research laboratory (JPL). The project will also help build a new glaciological research program at UCSC. Project results will be incorporated into undergraduate and graduate courses at UCSC and will be made available<br/>to the general public and educators through downloadable graphics and animations posted on the research website of the UCSC PI. Field data resulting from the project will be posted in the Antarctic Glaciological Data Center for use by other investigators.
This award supports an investigation of spatial variations of ice temperature and subglacial conditions using available ice-penetrating radar data around a future deep ice coring site near the Ross and Amundsen flow divide of West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Besides geometry of reflection layers the focus will be on intensities of radar echoes from within ice deeper than several hundred meters and will also examine echoes from the bed. Preliminary studies on theory and comparison with Japanese radar data from East Antarctica suggest that large spatial variations of the vertical gradient of radar echoes from within ice exist and are caused primarily by ice temperature and secondarily by crystal-orientation fabric. The hypothesis that the vertical gradient is a proxy of ice temperature will be tested. The project will utilize an existing data set from the Support Office for Aerogeophysical Research in Antarctica (SOAR) and will complement work already underway at University of Texas to analyze the radar data. The project will provide undergraduate research experience with an emphasis on computer analysis of time series and large data sets as well as development of web-based resource of results and methods and will support an international collaboration between US and Japan through discussions on the preliminary results from their study sites. Practical procedures developed through this study will be downloadable from the project's web site in the third year and will allow investigation of other ice sheets using existing radar data sets. This project will contribute to the interpretation of the future inland West Antarctic ice core and will help in the understanding of ice sheet history and climate change.
This award, provided by the Antarctic Geology and Geophysics Program of the Office of Polar Programs, provides funds for a study to investigate the tectonic development of the southwestern Ross Sea region. Displacements between East and West Antarctica have long been proposed based on global plate circuits, apparent hot spot motions, interpretations of seafloor magnetic anomalies, paleomagnetism, and on geologic grounds. Such motions require plate boundaries crossing Antarctica, yet these boundaries have never been explicitly defined. This project will attempt to delineate the late Cenozoic - active boundary between East and West Antarctica along the Terror Rift in the western Ross Sea, where young structures have been identified, continuity between active extension and intracontinental structures can be established, and where accessibility via ship will allow new key data sets to be acquired. We will use multi-source marine and airborne geophysical data to map the fault patterns and volcanic structure along the eastern margin of the Terror Rift. The orientations of volcanic fissures and seamount alignments on the seafloor will be mapped using multibeam bathymetry. The volcanic alignments will show the regional extension or shear directions across the Terror Rift and the orientations of associated crustal stresses. Swath bathymetry and single channel seismic data will be used to document neotectonic fault patterns and the eastern limit of recent faulting. Delineation of neotectonic fault patterns will demonstrate whether the eastern margin of the Terror Rift forms a continuous boundary and whether the rift itself can be linked with postulated strike-slip faults in the northwestern Ross Sea. Seafloor findings from this project will be combined with fault kinematic and stress field determinations from the surrounding volcanic islands and the Transantarctic Mountains. The integrated results will test the propositions that the eastern boundary of the Terror Rift forms the limit of the major, late Cenozoic -active structures through the Ross Sea and that Terror Rift kinematics involve dextral transtension linked to the right-lateral strike-slip faulting to the north. These results will help constrain the kinematic and dynamic links between the West Antarctic rift system and Southern Ocean structures and any related motions between East and West Antarctica. In the first year, a collaborative structural analysis of existing multichannel and single channel seismic profiles and aeromagnetic data over the Terror Rift will be conducted. The location of volcanic vents or fissures and any fault scarps on the sea floor will be identified and a preliminary interpretation of the age and kinematics of deformation in the Terror Rift will be produced. Late in the second year, a one-month cruise on RVIB N.B. Palmer will carry out multibeam bathymetric and sidescan sonar mapping of selected portions of the seafloor of Terror Rift. Gravity, magnetics, seismic reflection and Bathy2000 3.5 kHz sub-bottom profile data will also be collected across the rift. In the third year, we will use these multisource data to map the orientations and forms of volcanic bodies and the extent and geometry of neotectonic faulting associated with the Terror Rift. The project will: 1) complete a map of neotectonic faults and volcanic structures in the Terror Rift; 2) interpret the structural pattern to derive the motions and stresses associated with development of the rift; 3) compare Terror Rift structures with faults and lineaments mapped in the Transantarctic Mountains to improve age constraints on the structures; and 4) integrate the late Cenozoic structural interpretations from the western Ross Sea with Southern Ocean plate boundary kinematics.
This project will utilize the R/VIB Nathaniel B. Palmer's transit cruises to collect marine geophysical data on targets-of-opportunity in the southern oceans. Because the Palmer generally traverses regions only sparsely surveyed with geophysical instruments, this project represents a cost-effective way to collect important new data. The work's focus is expanding our knowledge of plate motion histories for the Antarctic and surrounding plates. The ultimate goals are improving global plate reconstructions and gaining new insight into general plate kinematics and dynamics and lithospheric rheology. Only slight deviations from the straight routes are required, and we expect to operate on one cruise per year over the three years of the project. The first cruise from New Zealand to Chile will survey a flow line of Pacific-Antarctic plate motion along the Menard fracture zone, which crosses the East Pacific Rise at ~50 S latitude. Swath bathymetry, gravity, magnetics, and a small amount of seismic reflection profiling will be collected to determine the exact trace of the fracture zone and its relationship to the associated gravity anomaly seen in shipboard and satellite radar altimetry data. These observations are critical for precise plate reconstructions, and will provide GPS-navigated locations of a major fracture zone near the northern end of the Pacific-Antarctic boundary. These data will be used in combination with similar data from the Pitman fracture zone at the southwestern end of the plate boundary and magnetic anomalies from previous cruises near the Menard fracture zone to improve high-precision plate reconstructions and evaluate the limits of internal deformation of the Pacific and Antarctic plates. The science plan for cruises in following years will be designed once transit schedules are set. In terms of broader impacts, we plan to teach an on-board marine geophysics class to graduate and undergraduate students on two cruises. The class consists of daily classroom lectures about the instruments and data; several hours per day of watch standing and data processing; and work by each student on an independent research project. We expect to accommodate 15 students per class, including participants from primarily undergraduate institutions with high minority enrollments.
Luyendyk et.al.: OPP 0088143<br/>Bartek: OPP 0087392<br/>Diebold: OPP 0087983<br/><br/>This award, provided by the Antarctic Geology and Geophysics Program of the Office of Polar Programs, supports a collaborative research program in marine geology and geophysics in the southern central and eastern Ross Sea. The project will conduct sites surveys for drilling from the Ross Ice Shelf into the seafloor beneath it. Many of the outstanding problems concerning the evolution of the East and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, Antarctic climate, global sea level, and the tectonic history of the West Antarctic Rift System can be addressed by drilling into the seafloor of the Ross Sea. Climate data for Cretaceous and Early Cenozoic time are lacking for this sector of Antarctica. Climate questions include: Was there any ice in Late Cretaceous time? What was the Antarctic climate during the Paleocene-Eocene global warming? When was the Cenozoic onset of Antarctic glaciation, when did glaciers reach the coast and when did they advance out onto the margin? Was the Ross Sea shelf non-marine in Late Cretaceous time; when did it become marine? Tectonic questions include: What was the timing of the Cretaceous extension in the Ross Sea rift; where was it located? What is the basement composition and structure? Where are the time and space limits of the effects of Adare Trough spreading? Another drilling objective is to sample and date the sedimentary section bounding the mapped RSU6 unconformity in the Eastern Basin and Central Trough to resolve questions about its age and regional extent. Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Leg 28 completed sampling at four drill sites in the early 1970's but had low recovery and did not sample the Early Cenozoic. Other drilling has been restricted to the McMurdo Sound area of the western Ross Sea and results can be correlated into the Victoria Land Basin but not eastward across basement highs. Further, Early Cenozoic and Cretaceous rocks have not been sampled. A new opportunity is developing to drill from the Ross Ice Shelf. This is a successor program to the Cape Roberts Drilling Project. One overriding difficulty is the need for site surveys at drilling locations under the ice shelf. This project will overcome this impediment by conducting marine geophysical drill site surveys at the front of the Ross Ice Shelf in the Central Trough and Eastern Basin. The surveys will be conducted a kilometer or two north of the ice shelf front where recent calving events have resulted in a southerly position of the ice shelf edge. In several years the northward advance of the ice shelf will override the surveyed locations and drilling could be accomplished. Systems to be used include swath bathymetry, gravity, magnetics, chirp sonar, high resolution seismic profiling, and 48 fold seismics. Cores will be collected to obtain samples for geotechnical properties, to study sub-ice shelf modern sedimentary processes, and at locations where deeper section is exposed.<br/><br/>This survey will include long profiles and detailed grids over potential drill sites. Survey lines will be tied to existing geophysical profiles and DSDP 270. A recent event that makes this plan timely is the calving of giant iceberg B-15 (in March, 2000) and others from the ice front in the eastern Ross Sea. This new calving event and one in 1987 have exposed 16,000 square kilometers of seafloor that had been covered by ice shelf for decades and is not explored. Newly exposed territory can now be mapped by modern geophysical methods. This project will map geological structure and stratigraphy below unconformity RSU6 farther south and east, study the place of Roosevelt Island in the Ross Sea rifting history, and determine subsidence history during Late Cenozoic time (post RSU6) in the far south and east. Finally the project will observe present day sedimentary processes beneath the ice shelf in the newly exposed areas.
9815961 <br/>BENGTSON<br/>The pack ice region surrounding Antarctica contains at least fifty percent of the world's population of seals, comprising about eighty percent of the world's total pinniped biomass. As a group, these seals are among the dominant top predators in Southern Ocean ecosystems, and the fluctuation in their abundance, growth patterns, life histories, and behavior provide a potential source of information about environmental variability integrated over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. This proposal was developed as part of the international Antarctic Pack Ice Seals (APIS) program, which is aimed to better understand the ecological relationships between the distribution of pack ice seals and their environment. During January-February, 2000, a research cruise through the pack ice zone of the eastern Ross Sea and western Amundsen Sea will be conducted to survey and sample along six transects perpendicular to the continental shelf. Each of these transects will pass through five environmental sampling strata: continental shelf zone, Antarctic slope front, pelagic zone, the ice edge front, and the open water outside the pack ice zone. All zones but open water will be ice-covered to some degree. Surveys along each transect will gather data on bathymetry, hydrography, sea ice dynamics and characteristics, phytoplankton and ice algae stocks, prey species (e.g., fish, cephalopods and euphausiids), and seal distribution, abundance and diet. This physical and trophic approach to investigating ecological interactions among pack ice seals, prey and the physical environment will allow the interdisciplinary research team to test the hypothesis that there are measurable physical and biological features in the Southern Ocean that result in area of high biological activity by upper trophic level predators. Better insight into the interplay among pack ice seals and biological and physical features of Antarctic marine ecosystems will allow for a better prediction of fluctuation in seal population in the context of environmental change.
This project will be the first systematic oceanographic study of the continental shelves of the Amundsen and Bellings-hausen Seas, and will include temperature and salinity profiling, water sampling for ocean chemistry, and continuous precision bathymetry. Upwelling warm deep water covers the Amundsen and Bellings-hausen shelves and delivers significant amounts of heat to the sea ice and fringing ice shelves. The regional precipitation is heavy, and has historically maintained a perennial ice cover. However, within the last few years satellite images have shown that the ice has been receding dramatically, with large areas of open water persisting through the winter in sectors that earlier had been ice-covered. These anomalous ice distributions are likely to have been accompanied by altered surface water properties, and possibly changes in the deep vertical circulation. There are indications that the conditions favoring a reduction in the sea ice may migrate westward toward the Ross Sea, and may have influenced a gradual warming over recent decades on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The project will make use of the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer in two cruises; one in the late austral summer 1993-1994, and a subse- quent cruise in September and October to observe late winter conditions.
This award supports an investigation of the early seafloor spreading history of the Marie Byrd Land Margin, Antarctica. This effort will carefully map the magnetic lineations, the gravity anomalies, the topography and, where possible, the seismically determined depth to basement. The study will integrate the tectonic lineations determined from the gravity, bathymetry and seismic information with the magnetic anomalies to construct a new seafloor spreading history of the Marie Byrd Land Margin. The analysis of these new data sets and the resultant seafloor spreading history will be used to address the following questions: (1) Did the early opening of the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge involve an additional plate, the Bellingshausen Plate, or did the ridge undergo very asymmetric, non-orthogonal spreading? (2) With a better refined opening history for the Pacific Antarctic Ridge, what are the implications for relative motions between the tectonic blocks which compromise West Antarctica and for the structure and evolution of the Marie Byrd Land Margin? (3) Can the global plate circuit solution be enhanced by refining the early Tertiary history of Pacific-Antarctic seafloor spreading?
This project will complete construction of a high-quality digital bathymetry database for the Southern Ocean component of the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics GLOBEC) program. Existing along-track and swath bathymetry data collected in Marguerite Bay and in the West Antarctic Peninsula shelf study, have been assembled and merged with new SeaBeam and along-track data collected during cruises of the research vessels R/V Palmer and R/V Gould in 2001 and 2002. New bathymetry data has also been obtained from other US, British, and Russian sources to extend the program database. Once the final R/V Palmer and R/V Gould cruises are completed and other data added, the program database will be closed, edited, documented and made publicly available for use by international GLOBEC investigators and by the broader geophysics community. These results will be developed in conjunction with, and will become part of a planned circum-antarctic high resolution bathymetry database.
This work will perform a marine geophysical survey of sea floor spreading off Cape Adare, Antarctica. Magnetic, gravity, swath bathymetry and multi-channel seismic data will be acquired from the southern end of the Adare Basin to the northern parts of the Northern Basin and Central Trough in the Ross Embayment. Previous surveys documented 170 km of regional extension between forty-three and twenty-six million years ago, which resulted in some seafloor spreading in the Adare Basin. However, the relationship of Adare Basin spreading to the overall extension and the southward continental basins of the Ross Embayment has not been established. This relationship is critical to understanding the tectonic evolution of East and West Antarctica and linking Pacific plate motions to the rest of the world. The study will also offer unique insight into rifting processes by studying the transition of rifting between oceanic and continental lithosphere. In terms of broader impacts, this project will support two graduate students and field research experience for undergraduates. The project also involves cooperation between scientists from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
The Shackleton Fracture Zone (SFZ) in Drake Passage of the Southern Ocean defines a boundary between low and high phytoplankton waters. Low chlorophyll water flowing through the southern Drake Passage emerges as high chlorophyll water to the east, and recent evidence indicates that the Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front (SACCF) is steered south of the SFZ onto the Antarctic Peninsula shelf where mixing between the water types occurs. The mixed water is then advected off-shelf with elevated iron and phytoplankton biomass. The SFZ is therefore an ideal natural laboratory to improve the understanding of plankton community responses to natural iron fertilization, and how these processes influence export of organic carbon to the ocean interior. The bathymetry of the region is hypothesized to influence mesoscale circulation and transport of iron, leading to the observed patterns in phytoplankton biomass. The position of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is further hypothesized to influence the magnitude of the flow of ACC water onto the peninsula shelf, mediating the amount of iron transported into the Scotia Sea. To address these hypotheses, a research cruise will be conducted near the SFZ and to the east in the southern Scotia Sea. A mesoscale station grid for vertical profiles, water sampling, and bottle incubation enrichment experiments will complement rapid surface surveys of chemical, plankton, and hydrographic properties. Distributions of manganese, aluminum and radium isotopes will be determined to trace iron sources and estimate mixing rates. Phytoplankton and bacterial physiological states (including responses to iron enrichment) and the structure of the plankton communities will be studied. The primary goal is to better understand how plankton productivity, community structure and export production in the Southern Ocean are affected by the coupling between bathymetry, mesoscale circulation, and distributions of limiting nutrients. The proposed work represents an interdisciplinary approach to address the fundamental physical, chemical and biological processes that contribute to the abrupt transition in chl-a which occurs near the SFZ. Given recent indications that the Southern Ocean is warming, it is important to advance the understanding of conditions that regulate the present ecosystem structure in order to predict the effects of climate variability. This project will promote training and learning across a broad spectrum of groups. Funds are included to support postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates. In addition, this project will contribute to the development of content for the Polar Science Station website, which has been a resource since 2001 for instructors and students in adult education, home schooling, tribal schools, corrections education, family literacy programs, and the general public.
This award supports development of a new modeling approach that will extract information about past snow accumulation rate in both space and time in the vicinity of the future ice core near the Ross-Amundsen divide of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Internal layers, detected by ice-penetrating radar, are isochrones, or former ice-sheet surfaces that have been buried by subsequent snowfall, and distorted by ice flow. Extensive ice-penetrating radar data are available over the inland portion of the WAIS. Layers have been dated back to 17,000 years before present. The radar data add the spatial dimension to the temporally resolved accumulation record from ice cores. Accumulation rates are traditionally derived from the depths of young, shallow layers, corrected for strain using a local 1-D ice-flow model. Older, deeper layers have been more affected by flow over large horizontal distances. However, it is these deeper layers that contain information on longer-term climate patterns. This project will use geophysical inverse theory and a 2.5D flow-band ice-flow forward model comprising ice-surface and layer-evolution modules, to extract robust transient accumulation patterns by assimilating multiple deeper, more-deformed layers that have previously been intractable. Histories of divide migration, geothermal flux, and surface evolution will also be produced. The grant will support the PhD research of a female graduate student who is a mentor to female socio-economically disadvantaged high-school students interested in science, through the University of Washington Women's Center. It will also provide a research<br/>experience for an undergraduate student, and contribute to a freshman seminar on Scientific Research.
The Shackleton Fracture Zone (SFZ) in the Drake Passage defines a boundary between low and high phytoplankton waters. West of Drake Passage, Southern Ocean waters south of the Polar Front and north of the Antarctic continent shelf have very low satellite-derived surface chlorophyll concentrations. Chlorophyll and mesoscale eddy kinetic energy are higher east of SFZ compared to values west of the ridge. In situ data from a 10-year survey of the region as part of the National Marine Fisheries Service's Antarctic Marine Living Resources program confirm the existence of a strong hydrographic and chlorophyll gradient in the region. An interdisciplinary team of scientists hypothesizes that bathymetry, including the 2000 m deep SFZ, influences mesoscale circulation and transport of iron leading to the observed phytoplankton patterns. To address this<br/>hypothesis, the team proposes to examine phytoplankton and bacterial physiological states (including responses to iron enrichment) and structure of the plankton communities from virus to zooplankton, the concentration and distribution of Fe, Mn, and Al, and mesoscale flow patterns near the SFZ. Relationships between iron concentrations and phytoplankton characteristics will be examined in the context of the mesoscale transport of trace nutrients to determine how much of the observed variability in phytoplankton biomass can be attributed to iron supply, and to determine the most important sources of iron to pelagic waters east of the Drake Passage. The goal is to better understand how plankton productivity and community structure in the Southern Ocean are affected by the coupling between bathymetry, mesoscale circulation, and limiting nutrient distributions.<br/><br/>The research program includes rapid surface surveys of chemical, plankton, and hydrographic properties complemented by a mesoscale station grid for vertical profiles, water sampling, and bottle incubation enrichment experiments. Distributions of manganese and aluminum will be determined to help distinguish aeolian, continental shelf and upwelling sources of iron. The physiological state of the phytoplankton will be monitored by active fluorescence methods sensitive to the effects of iron limitation. Mass concentrations of pigment, carbon and nitrogen will be obtained by analysis of filtered samples, cell size distributions by flow cytometry, and species identification by microscopy. Primary production and photosynthesis parameters (absorption, quantum yields, variable fluorescence) will be measured on depth profiles, during surface surveys and on bulk samples from enrichment experiments. Viruses and bacteria will be examined for abundances, and bacterial production will be assessed in terms of whether it is limited by either iron or organic carbon sources. The proposed work will improve our understanding of processes controlling distributions of iron and the response of plankton communities in the Southern Ocean. This proposal also includes an outreach component comprised of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Teachers Experiencing the Antarctic and Arctic (TEA), and the creation of an educational website and K-12 curricular modules based on the project.
This project determines the recent history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) through a multidisciplinary study of the seabed in the Ross Sea of Antarctica. WAIS is perhaps the world's most critical ice sheet to sea level rise dut to near-future global warming. its history has been a key focus for the past decade, but there are significant questions as to whether WAIS was stable during the last glacial maximum--about 20,000 years ago--or undergoing advance and retreat. This project studies grounding zone translantions in Eastern Basin to constrain WAIS movements using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates multibeam bathymetry, seismic stratigraphy, sedimentology, diatom biostratigraphy, radiocarbon dating, 10Be concentration analyses, and numerical modeling.<br/><br/>The broader impacts include improving society's understanding of sea level rise linked to global warming; postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate education; and expanding the participation of groups underrepresented in Earth sciences through links with LSU's Geoscience Alliance to Encourage Minority Participation.
This award supports a comprehensive aerogeophysical survey of the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) in West Antarctica. The University of Texas will join forces with the British Antarctic Survey to use both US and UK aircraft and instrumentation to achieve this survey. Analyses of the new aerogeophysical<br/>data will result in the generation of maps of ice sheet surface, volume and bottom-interface characteristics. These maps will support the efforts of a community of US and international researchers to assess the present and predict the future behavior of the ice sheet in the ASE.<br/>The West Antarctic ice sheet has been the subject of intensive interdisciplinary study by both the European and U.S. scientific communities since it was recognized to be a potential source for up to 5 meters of sea<br/>level rise, possibly on short timescales. In terms of ice discharge, the ASE is the largest drainage system in West Antarctica. Yet it has been comparatively unstudied, primarily due to its remoteness from logistical<br/>centers. The ASE is the only major drainage to exhibit significant elevation change over the period of available satellite observations. Present knowledge of the ice thickness and subglacial boundary conditions in the ASE are insufficient to understand its evolution or its sensitivity to climatic change.<br/>The results from our surveys are required to achieve the fundamental research objectives outlined by the US scientific community in an ASE Science Plan. The surveys and analyses will be achieved through international collaboration and will involve graduate students, undergraduates and high school apprentices.<br/>Through its potential for influencing sea level, the future behavior of the ASE is of primary societal importance. Given the substantial public and scientific interest that recent reports of change in West Antarctica have generated, we expect fundamental research in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, enabled by our surveys, will have widespread impact.
This award supports continued acquisition of high resolution, radar reflection profiles of the snow and ice stratigraphy between core sites planned along traverse routes of the U.S. component of the International<br/>Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (U.S.-ITASE). The purpose is to use the profiles to establish the structure and continuity of firn stratigraphic horizons over hundreds of kilometers and to quantitatively<br/>assess topographic and ice movement effects upon snow deposition. Other objectives are to establish the climatic extent that a single site represents and to investigate the cause of firn reflections. The radar<br/>will also be used to identify crevasses ahead of the traverse vehicles in order to protect the safety of the scientists and support personnel on the traverse. Collaboration with other ITASE investigators will use the radar horizons as continuous isochronic references fixed by the core dating to calculate historical snow accumulation rates. The primary radar system uses 400-MHz (center frequency) short-pulse antennas, which (with processing) gives the penetration of 50-70 meters. This is the depth which is required to exceed the 200-year deposition horizon along the traverse routes. Profiles at 200 MHz will also be recorded if depths greater than 70 meters are of interest. Processing will be accomplished by data compression (stacking) to reveal long distance stratigraphic deformation, range gain corrections to give proper weight to signal amplitudes, and GPS corrections to adjust the records for the present ice sheet topography. Near surface stratigraphy will allow topographic and ice movement effects to be separated. This work is critical to the success of the U.S.-ITASE program.
This award will support a combined airborne radar and aeromagnetic survey of two 220 x 330 km regions between the Transantarctica Mountains and Marie Byrd Land during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 field seasons. These efforts will address significant problems identified in the Ross Transect Zone (RTZ) by the National Academy of Sciences (1986) report "Antarctic Solid Earth Sciences Research," and by the report to NSF "A Plan for a United States Program to Study the Structure and Evolution of the Antarctic Lithosphere (SEAL)." The surveys will be flown using the NSF/TUD radar and an areomagnetics system mounted in a light aircraft. The grid spacing will be 5 km and navigation will be by radiopositioning. In addition to maps of subglacial topography and magnetic intensity, attempts will be made to reconstruct the position of subglacial diffractors in three dimensions. This reconstruction should give new information about the distribution of escarpments and therefore the tectonic relationships within the region, especially when combined with the magnetic results. These experiments will be conducted by the Byrd Polar Research Center of the Ohio State University and the Water Resources and Geological Divisions of the U.S. Geological Survey.
This award is for two years of support to perform radar investigations across former shear margins at Roosevelt Island and Ice Stream C in order to measure changes in the configuration and continuity of internal layers and the bed. The broad goal of these investigations is to gain an understanding of ice stream flow and the timing and mechanisms of ice stream shutdown. A high-resolution short-pulse radar system will be used for detailed examination of the uppermost hundred meters of the firn and ice, and a monopulse sounding-radar system will be used to image the rest of the ice column (including internal layers) and the bed. Changes in the shape and continuity of layers will be used to interpret mechanisms and modes of ice stream flow including the possible migration of stagnation fronts and rates of shut-down. Variations in bed reflectivity will be used to deduce basal hydrology conditions across lineations. Accumulation rates deduced from snow pits and shallow cores will be used to estimate near-surface depth-age profiles. Improved understanding of ice stream history opens the possibility of linking changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet with the geologic evidence from Northern Victoria Land and the ocean record of the retreat of the grounding line in the Ross Sea.