AMS Radiocarbon Chronology of Glacier Fluctuations in the South Shetland Islands During the Last Glacial/Interglacial Hemicycle:Implications for Global Climate Change
This award supports a two year program to produce a new reconstruction of ice extent, elevation and thickness at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) for the South Shetland Islands in the Antarctic Peninsula. One field season on Livingston Island will involve mapping the areal extent and geomorphology of glacial drift and determining the elevation and distribution of trimlines. In addition, ice flow direction will be determined by mapping and measuring the elevation of erosional features and the position of erratic boulders. One of the main goals of this work will be to demonstrate whether or not organic material suitable for radiocarbon dating exists in the South Shetland Islands. If so, the age of the deposits will be determined by measuring the carbon-14 age of plant, algal, and fungal remains preserved at the base of the deposits, as well as incorporated marine shells, seal skin and other organic material that may be found in raised beach deposits. Another goal will be to concentrate on the development of relative sea-level curves from 2-3 key areas to show whether or not construction of such curves for the South Shetland Islands is possible. The new reconstruction of ice extent, elevation and thickness at the Last Glacial Maximum for the South Shetland Islands which will be produced by this work will be useful in studies of ocean circulation and ice dynamics in the vicinity of the Drake Passage. It will also contribute to the production of a deglacial chronology which will afford important clues about the mechanisms controlling ice retreat in this region of the southern hemisphere.
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