LGM Late Pleistocene to Holocene Glacial History of West Antarctica
This award, provided by the Antarctic Geology and Geophysics Program of the Office of Polar Programs, supports research on the glaciomarine geology of the continental shelves of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. It is hypothesized that the different glacial systems of the Antarctic Peninsula region have been more responsive to climate change and sea-level rise than either the West Antarctic or East Antarctic ice sheets. This is due mainly to the smaller size of these ice masses and the higher latitude location of the peninsula. Indeed, ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula are currently retreating at rates of up to a kilometer per year. But are these changes due to recent atmospheric warming in the region or are they simply the final phase of retreat since the last glacial maximum?
This project hypothesizes that the deglacial history of the Antarctic Peninsula region has been quite complex, with different glacial systems retreating at different rates and at different times. This complex recessional history reflects the different sizes as well as different climatic and physiographic settings of glacial systems in the region. An understanding of the Late Pleistocene to Holocene glacial history of the Antarctic Peninsula glacial systems is needed to address how these systems responded to sea-level and climate change during that time interval. This investigation acquire new marine geological and geophysical data from the continental shelf to determine if and when different glacial systems were grounded on the shelf, to establish the extent of grounded ice, and to examine the history of glacial retreat. The project will build on an extensive seismic data set and hundreds of sediment cores collected along the Peninsula during earlier (1980's) cruises. Key to this investigation is the acquisition of swath bathymetry, side-scan sonar and very high-resolution sub-bottom (chirp) profiles from key drainage outlets. These new data will provide the necessary geomorphologic and stratigraphic framework for reconstructing the Antarctic Peninsula glacial record. Anticipated results will help constrain models for future glacier and ice sheet activity.
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database