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Collaborative Research: Terrestrial Exposure-Age Constraints on the last Glacial Maximum Extent of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Western Ross Sea

The investigators will map glacial deposits and date variations in glacier variability at several ice-free regions in northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. These data will constrain the nature and timing of past ice thickness changes for major glaciers that drain into the northwestern Ross Sea. This is important because during the Last Glacial Maximum (15,000 - 18,000 years ago) these glaciers were most likely flowing together with grounded ice from both the East and West Antarctic Ice Sheets that expanded across the Ross Sea continental shelf to near the present shelf edge. Thus, the thickness of these glaciers was most likely controlled in part by the extent and thickness of the Ross Sea ice sheet and ice shelf. The data the PIs propose to collect can provide constraints on the position of the grounding line in the western Ross Sea during the Last Glacial Maximum, the time that position was reached, and ice thickness changes that occurred after that time. The primary intellectual merit of this project will be to improve understanding of a period of Antarctic ice sheet history that is relatively unconstrained at present and also potentially important in understanding past ice sheet-sea level interactions. This proposal will support an early career researcher's ongoing program of undergraduate education and research that is building a socio-economically diverse student body with students from backgrounds underrepresented in the geosciences. This proposal will also bring an early career researcher into Antarctic research.

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