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Polenet East: An International Seismological Network for East Antarctica

The high elevations of East Antarctica are critical in localizing the initial Cenozoic glaciation and stabilizing it with respect to melting during warm interglacials. However, the geological history for this region and the geophysical mechanism for maintaining the highlands are poorly understood. In 2007-2009, an array of 24 broadband seismographs (named GAMSEIS) was installed across the Gamburtsev Mountains area of the East Antarctic Plateau as part of the Antarctica?s Gamburtsev Province (AGAP) International Polar Year project. The IPY AGAP/GAMSEIS program included plans by other international partners to install seismographs at locations along the flanks of the Gamburtsev Mountains and in other East Antarctic regions. The proposed project will continue operating six of the deployed AGAP/GAMSEIS stations for two more years together with two new broadband seismic stations added to broaden the geographic scope of the array. Most stations will be located at the existing U.S. Autonomous Geophysical Observatories and the USAP fuel cache locations in order to minimize logistical support. This array, combined with seismographs deployed by China and Japan (and possibly Australia, France, and Italy in near future) will provide a sparse but large-scale network of seismometers for the longer-term studies of the crustal and upper mantle structures underneath the East Antarctic Plateau. Continued reliance on students provides a broader impact to this proposed research and firmly grounds this effort in its educational mission.

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