Project Information
Collaborative Research: Integrating Geomorphological and Paleoecological Studies to Reconstruct Neogene Environments of the Transantarctic Mountains
This project studies the last vestiges of life in Antarctica from exceptionally well-preserved fossils of tundra life--mosses, diatoms, ostracods, Nothofagus leaves, wood, and insect remains recently discovered in ancient lake sediments from the McMurdo Dry Valleys. The area will be studied by an interdisciplinary team to elucidate information about climate and biogeography. These deposits offer unique and direct information about the characteristics of Antarctica during a key period in its history, the time when it was freezing. This information is critical for correlation with indirect proxies, such as though obtained from drill cores, for climate and state of the ice sheet. The results will also help understand the origin and migration of similar organisms found in South America, India and Australia.

In terms of broader impacts, this project supports an early career researcher, undergraduate and graduate student research, various forms of outreach to K12 students, and extensive international collaboration. The work also has societal relevance in that the outcomes will offer direct constraints on Antarctica's ice sheet during a time with atmospheric CO2 contents similar to those of the earth in the coming centuries, and thus may help predictive models of sea level rise.
Person Role
Ashworth, Allan Investigator
Lewis, Adam Co-Investigator
Antarctic Earth Sciences Award # 0739700
Antarctic Earth Sciences Award # 0739693
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
Not provided
  1. Mackay, S. L., Marchant, D. R., Lamp, J. L., & Head, J. W. (2014). Cold-based debris-covered glaciers: Evaluating their potential as climate archives through studies of ground-penetrating radar and surface morphology. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 119(11), 2505–2540. (doi:10.1002/2014jf003178)
  2. Mackay, S. L., & Marchant, D. R. (2016). Dating buried glacier ice using cosmogenic 3He in surface clasts: Theory and application to Mullins Glacier, Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews, 140, 75–100. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.03.013)
  3. Yau, A. M., Bender, M. L., Marchant, D. R., & Mackay, S. L. (2015). Geochemical analyses of air from an ancient debris-covered glacier, Antarctica. Quaternary Geochronology, 28, 29–39. (doi:10.1016/j.quageo.2015.03.008)
Platforms and Instruments

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