CAREER: Tracing Antarctic Sediment Transport Pathways and Antarctic Ice Sheet Stability Using Iron-titanium Oxide Magnetic and Chemical fingerprints

Project Details


This project will develop a suite of tracers to understand sediment transport in the Antarctic margin. These sediments are glacially derived and understanding their origin will provide insight into the controls on the stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The method exploits the distinctive elemental fingerprints in iron-titanium oxides to characterize source regions. Iron titanium oxides contain an array of major, minor and trace elements. These elemental profiles will be quantified via electron microprobe and used to define a geochemical fingerprint for each source area. Unknown samples will be traced to their sources using discriminant function analysis. The ability to trace Antarctic glacial marine sediment deposited along the continental margin and in the Southern Ocean will provide a means of tracking advances and retreats of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers and ice shelves. Source area fingerprints will be derived from existing circum-Antarctic samples of glacial till and ice-proximal sand. These samples will also be studied to determine their magnetic parameters, sediment geochemistry, and radioisotope signatures to track their dispersal through the world's oceans.

This project involves substantial undergraduate and graduate student training in mineralogy, petrology, sedimentology, geochemistry, microscopy, magnetism and statistics. Montclair State University has a diverse student body that will permit the PI to work towards recruitment and retention of women in science. Students will also work at a diverse array of state of the art research facilities including the Antarctic Research Facility, the Polar Rock Repository, the Institute for Rock Magnetism, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, and core repositories of the Ocean Drilling Program. Major themes of this project will be crafted into Antarctic and global change lessons for elementary school teachers.

Effective start/end date1/06/0430/11/11


  • National Science Foundation: $403,301.00


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