Geophysical Investigations of Marie Byrd Land Lithospheric Evolution (GIMBLE)
The PIs propose to use airborne geophysics to provide detailed geophysical mapping over the Marie Byrd Land dome of West Antarctica. They will use a Basler equipped with advanced ice penetrating radar, a magnetometer, an airborne gravimeter and laser altimeter. They will test models of Marie Byrd Land lithospheric evolution in three ways: 1) constrain bedrock topography and crustal structure of central Marie Byrd Land for the first time; 2) map subglacial geomorphology of Marie Byrd Land to constrain landscape evolution; and 3) map the distribution of subglacial volcanic centers and identify active sources. Marie Byrd Land is one of the few parts of West Antarctica whose bedrock lies above sea level; as such, it has a key role to play in the formation and decay of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), and thus on eustatic sea level change during the Neogene. Several lines of evidence suggest that the topography of Marie Byrd Land has changed over the course of the Cenozoic, with significant implications for the origin and evolution of the ice sheet.
This work will have important implications for both the cryospheric and geodynamic communities. These data will also leverage results from the POLENET project. The PIs will train both graduate and undergraduate students in the interpretation of large geophysical datasets providing them with the opportunity to co-author peer-reviewed papers and present their work to the broader science community. This research will also support a young female researcher. The PIs will conduct informal education using their Polar Studies website and contribute formally to K-12 curriculum development. The research will incorporate microblogging and data access to allow the project?s first-order hypothesis to be confirmed or denied in public.
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