Radar Studies of Internal Stratigraphy and Bed Topography along the US ITASE-II Traverse
This award supports a project to perform ice radar studies of bedrock topography and internal layers along the second US ITASE traverse corridor extending from Taylor Dome to South Pole on the inland side of the Transantarctic Mountains. The radar will provide information immediately available in the field on ice thickness and internal layer structure to help in the selection of core sites as the traverse proceeds. These data will also be useful in locating additional radar and surface studies to characterize the drainage divides between major outlet glaciers flowing through the mountains and possible changes in them through time. Information from the radar on bed roughness and basal reflectivity, together with images of internal layer deformation will enable us to study changes in the character of ice flow as tributaries merge to trunk flow and velocities increase. Areas where wind scour and sublimation have brought old ice close to the surface will be investigated. Based on our results from the first ITASE traverse, it is also likely that there will be findings of opportunity, phenomena we have not anticipated that are revealed by the radar as the result of a discovery-based traverse. The interdisciplinary science goals of US ITASE are designed to accommodate a variety of interactive research programs and data collected are available to a broad scientific community. US ITASE also supports an extensive program of public outreach and the education and training of future scientists will be central to all activities of this proposal. St. Olaf College is an undergraduate liberal arts institution that emphasizes student participation in scientific research. This award supports two undergraduate students as well as a research associate and a graduate student who will be part of the US ITASE field team.
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