Collaborative Research: Multi-nuclide approach to systematically evaluate the scatter in surface exposure ages in Antarctica and to develop consistent alpine glacier chronologies
The PIs propose to investigate the impact of earth surface processes on the application of cosmogenic exposure dating in Antarctica by combining multi-nuclide techniques, detailed field experiments, rock-mechanic studies, and climate modeling. They will analyze cosmogenic-nuclide inventories for a suite of six alpine-moraine systems in inland regions of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This area is ideally suited for this study because 1) the targeted alpine moraine sequences are critically important in helping to reconstruct past temperature and precipitation values over the last several million years, 2) the production rates for cosmogenic nuclides are typically high and well-known, and 3) the complexity of surface processes is relatively low. Their work has two specific goals: to evaluate the effects of episodic geomorphic events in modulating cosmogenic inventories in surface rocks in polar deserts and to generate an alpine glacier chronology that will serve as a robust record of regional climate variation over the last several million years. A key objective is to produce a unique sampling strategy that yields consistent exposure-age results by minimizing the effects of episodic geomorphic events that obfuscate cosmogenic-nuclide chronologies. They will link their moraine chronology with regional-scale atmospheric models developed by collaborators at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
This research is interdisciplinary and includes two early career scientists. Results of this work will be used to enhance undergraduate education by engaging two female students in Antarctic field and summer research projects. Extended outreach includes development of virtual Antarctic field trips for Colgate University?s Ho Tung Visualization Laboratory and Boston University?s Antarctic Digital Image Analyses Laboratory. The PIs will continue to work with the Los Angeles Valley Community College, which serves students of mostly Hispanic origin as part of the PolarTREC program. This project will contribute to the collaboration between LDEO and several New York City public high schools within the Lamont-Doherty Secondary School Field Program.
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