The West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat in Pine Island Bay, Amndsen Sea, Antarctica, as documented by clay mineral assemblages


Professor Dr. Werner Ehrmann 
Universität Leipzig
Institut für Geophysik und Geologie
Abteilung Geologie


The study aims in improving our understanding of the deglaciation history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet after the last glacial maximum. It builds on investigations in Bellingshausen Sea and concentrates on the continental shelf of Pine Island Bay in Amundsen Sea. This region is extremely important, because it is located offshore from Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier, which exhibit the most rapid ice thinning and grounding line retreat in present-day Antarctica. Mainly sediments from the continental shelf, but also from a few sites at the continental slope are studied for their clay mineral assemblages. Surface samples are investigated to map the distribution of the individual clay minerals in order to identify different clay mineral provinces, source areas and present transport pathways and processes. Core samples are analysed to decipher temporal and spatial changes in the clay mineralogical signature in order to reconstruct the maximum glacial extent of the ice sheet and glaciers, the ice flow directions, the subglacial and gravitational depositional processes and the retreat history of the ice sheet.


DFG-Verfahren: Infrastruktur-Schwerpunktprogramme

Förderung von 2007 bis 2012