Interrelations of tectonic deformation and surface erosion with West Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics


Dr. Karsten Gohl
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Fachbereich Geowissenschaften
Sektion Geophysik

Dr. Norbert Kaul
Universität Bremen
Fachbereich 05: Geowissenschaften
Fachgebiet Meerestechnik - Sensorik

Professor Dr. Cornelia Spiegel
Universität Bremen
Fachbereich 05: Geowissenschaften
Fachgebiet Geodynamik der Polargebiete

Project Description

West Antarctica, and particularly the Amundsen Sea area, hosts glaciers with the most pronounced mass losses of the whole continent. Complete collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would result in a global sea level rise of 3 to 5 m. Apart from climatic and oceanographic changes, ice sheets are influenced by the tectonic and structural history as well as by heat flow patterns of the underlying bedrock. This project plan aims for a better understanding of the long-term geodynamic and paleo-topographic evolution of the Amundsen Sea area, of its heat flow distribution, and of its glacial thinning and retreat history. This will be achieved by applying a combination of geophysical methods, thermochronology, and surface exposure dating. Combining these data sets will provide information on spatial and temporal correlations of geodynamic activity, heat flow patterns, and ice sheet evolution. In more general terms, this project will contribute to a better understanding of relations between lithospheric processes, surface processes, and glacial dynamics. The project is based on Polarstern expedition XXX/3 in February-March 2015. During this expedition, the shallow drilling MeBo device will be deployed, enabling the first drilling campaign in the Amundsen Sea. Cored material will include basement rocks and clastic sediments presumably covering the time from the Cretaceous to the present, offering a unique opportunity for studying the evolution of the Amundsen Sea area.

DFG Programme: Infrastructure Priority Programmes

International Connection: Antarctica

Participating Person: Privatdozent Dr. Frank Lisker

Term from 2014 to 2018