Short Name:
NSF-ANT10-43619

Collaborative Research: East Antarctic outlet glacier contributions to the Ross Sea from chronology of detrital grains

Intellectual Merit: The PIs proposed a provenance study of glacial deposits in the Ross Embayment that will provide a broad scale geochronologic survey of detrital minerals in till to help characterize bedrock beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet and constrain Antarctica?s glacial history. This project capitalizes on previous investments in field sampling. Analytical tools applied to single mineral grains extracted from existing collections of glacial till will generate ?fingerprints? of East Antarctic outlet glaciers and West Antarctic till to refine paleo-ice flow models for the Ross Embayment during the last glacial maximum, older records from ANDRILL cores, and to assess IRD sources in the Southern Ocean. New provenance tracers will include a suite of geochronological methods that together provide greater insights into the orogenic and erosional history the region. This project will include U/Pb of detrital zircons, (U-Th)/He on a subset of the U/Pb dated zircons, as well as Ar-Ar of detrital hornblende, mica and feldspars. Broader Impacts: This research will train one M.S. student at IUPUI, a Ph.D. student at Columbia, and several undergraduates at both institutions. Graduate students involved in the project will be involved in mentoring undergraduate researchers. Incorporation of research discoveries will be brought into the classroom by providing concrete examples and exercises at the appropriate level. Licht and Columbia graduate student E. Pierce are developing outreach projects with local secondary school teachers to investigate the provenance of glacial materials in their local areas. The research will have broad applicability to many fields.

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