Geodynamic Models of Subsidence and Lithospheric Flexure at the ANDRILL Drill Sites: Implications for Cenozoic Tectonics and Ice Sheet History
This research will place the subsidence history of the southern Victoria Land Basin into a quantitative geodynamic context and will assess the influence of flexure associated with late Neogene volcanic loading of the crust by the Erebus Volcanic Group. This will be done by extending geodynamic models of extension in the West Antarctic Rift System to include extensional hiatuses hypothesized to have occurred during the Late Paleogene and Miocene, and by developing a new geodynamic model of volcanic loading and associated lithosphere flexure. Finite element and finite difference modeling methods will be used. In the first phase of the project, a series of extensional geodynamic models will be developed to examine the effect that proposed extensional hiatuses have on the style of extension, with emphasis placed on developing a process based understanding of the change in rift style from diffuse during the Late Cretaceous to more focused during the Cenozoic. The models will test the hypotheses that extensional hiatuses led to the change in rifting style, and will place constraints on the timing and duration of the hiatuses. The second phase of the project will use the thermal and rheological properties of the previous models to constrain the flexural rigidity of the lithosphere in order to model the flexural response to volcanic loading to test the hypotheses that flexural subsidence contributed to cyclic changes between grounded and floating ice at the ANDRILL AND-1A site, complicating interpretations of the climatic record from this core, and that flexure contributes to the stress orientation at the AND-2B site, which is inconsistent with the expected regional extensional stress orientation.
The project will train an undergraduate student and an M.S. student. Outreach activities include a planned series of talks at regional high schools, junior colleges, and 4-year colleges that have geology programs.
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