Terrestrial Geological Context for Glacier Change in the Northeast Antarctica Peninsula
The PIs propose to investigate last glacial maximum through Holocene glacial change on the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula, an area distinguished by dramatic ice shelf collapses and retreat of upstream glaciers. However, there is a lack of long-term context to know the relative significance of recent events over longer time scales. The PIs will obtain data on former ice margin positions, ice thicknesses, glacier retreat and thinning rates, and Holocene glacier change in the James Ross Island Archipelago and areas near the former Larsen-A ice shelf. These data include maximum- and minimum-limiting 14C and cosmogenic-nuclide exposure dates integrated with geomorphology and stratigraphy. Understanding the extent, nature, and history of glacial events is important for placing current changes in glacial extent into a long-term context. This research will also contribute to understanding the sensitivity of ice shelves and glaciers in this region to climate change. Records of changes in land-terminating glaciers will also address outstanding questions related to climate change since the LGM and through the Holocene. The PIs will collect samples during cooperative field projects with scientists of the Instituto Antártico Argentino and the Korea Polar Research Institute planned as part of existing, larger, research projects.
The proposed work includes collaborations with Argentina and Korea. The PIs are currently involved in or are initiating education and outreach activities that will be incorporated into this project. These include interactions with the American Museum of Natural History, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and undergraduate involvement in their laboratories. This project provides a significant opportunity to engage the public as it focuses on an area where environmental changes are the object of attention in the popular media.
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