Collaborative Research: Last Glacial Maximum and Deglaciation Chronology for the Foundation Ice Stream and Southeastern Weddell Sea Embayment
This award supports a project to find and date geologic evidence of past ice-marginal positions in the Pensacola Mountains, which border the Foundation Ice Stream at the head of the Weddell Sea embayment. The project will involve glacial geologic mapping and cosmogenic-nuclide surface exposure dating of glacially transported erratics. An ice-flow model will be used to link our exposure-dating results together in a glaciologically consistent way, and to relate them to regional LGM to Holocene elevation changes. A secondary focus of the project seeks to improve the effectiveness of exposure-dating methods in understanding ice sheet change. Changes in the location of the ice margin, and thus the exposure ages that record these changes, are controlled not only by regional ice sheet mass balance, but also by local effects on snow- and icefields immediately adjacent to the exposure-dating sites. This part of the project will combine glaciological observations near the present ice margin with targeted exposure- age sampling in an effort to better understand the processes controlling the ice margin location, and improve the interpretation of very recent exposure-age data as a record of latest Holocene to present ice sheet changes. The intellectual merit of the project is that it will provide direct geologic evidence of LGM-to-Holocene ice volume change in a region of Antarctica where no such evidence now exists. The broader impacts of the work involve both gathering information needed for accurate understanding of past and present global sea level change. Secondly, this project will help to develop and maintain the human and intellectual resources necessary for continued excellence in polar research and global change education, by linking experienced Antarctic researchers with early career scientists who seek to develop their expertise in both research and education. In addition, it brings together two early career scientists whose careers are focused at opposite ends of the research-education spectrum, thus facilitating better integration of research and education both in the careers of these scientists and in the outcome of this project. This award has field work in Antarctica.
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