Project Information
Collaborative Research: New Constraints on Post-Glacial Rebound and Holocene Environmental History along the Northern Antarctic Peninsula from Raised Beaches
Short Title:
Raised Beaches of the Antarctic Peninsula
Start Date:
End Date:
Glacier ice loss from Antarctica has the potential to lead to a significant rise in global sea level. One line of evidence for accelerated glacier ice loss has been an increase in the rate at which the land has been rising across the Antarctic Peninsula as measured by GPS receivers. However, GPS observations of uplift are limited to the last two decades. One goal of this study is to determine how these newly observed rates of uplift compare to average rates of uplift across the Antarctic Peninsula over a longer time interval. Researchers reconstructed past sea levels using the age and elevation of ancient beaches now stranded above sea level on the low-lying coastal hills of the Antarctica Peninsula and determined the rate of uplift over the last 5,000 years. The researchers analyzed the structure of the beaches using ground-penetrating radar and the characteristics of beach sediments to understand how sea-level rise and past climate changes are recorded in beach deposits. We found that unlike most views of how sea level changed across Antarctica over the last 5,000 years, its history is complex with periods of increasing rates of sea-level fall as well as short periods of potential sea-level rise. We attribute these oscillations in the nature of sea-level change across the Antarctic Peninsula to changes in the ice sheet over the last 5,000 years. These changes in sea level also suggest our understanding of the Earth structure beneath the Antarctic Peninsula need to be revised. The beach deposits themselves also record periods of climate change as reflected in the size and shape of their cobbles. This project has lead to the training of five graduate students, three undergraduate students, and outreach talks to k-12 schools in three communities.
Person Role
Simms, Alexander Investigator and contact
Theilen, Brittany Researcher
Gernant, Cameron Researcher
DeWitt, Regina Co-Investigator
Antarctic Earth Sciences Award # 1644197
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Deployment Type
Alexander Simms field camp
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
  1. Zurbuchen, J. and Simms, A.R., 2019. Late Holocene ice-mass changes recorded in a relative sea-level record from Joinville Island, Antarctica. Geology, v. 47, p. 1064-1068. (doi:10.1130/G46649.1)
  2. Simms, A.R., Whitehouse, P.L., Simkins, L.M., Nield, G., DeWitt, R., and Bentley, M.J., 2018. Late Holocene relative sea level near Palmer Station, northern Antarctic Peninsula, strongly controlled by late Holocene ice-mass changes. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 199, p. 49-59 (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.09.017)
Platforms and Instruments

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