Deciphering submarine slope processes in the Ross Sea, Antarctica
Director of Studies: Dr Jenny Gales
Second Supervisor: Dr Phil Hosegood
Third Supervisor: Professor Tony Morris
Additional Supervisors: Dr Laura De Santis (OGS, Italy)
Dr Michele Rebesco (OGS, Italy)
The need to substantially improve knowledge about the future behaviour of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has taken on a new urgency with rates of ice loss doubling in recent years around Antarctica (McMillan et al., 2014). Determining the signature of past slope processes (e.g. debris flows, turbidity currents, down-slope currents, along-slope currents, mass wasting) (e.g. Gales et al., 2014) provides huge potential for understanding how ocean and climate circulation changed in the past and may provide important clues as to how they may change in the near future; and what effects this may have on ice retreat and sea-level rise.
This project will examine an exceptional multidisciplinary dataset including geomorphological, geophysical, geological and oceanographic evidence of past and present slope processes on the Eastern Ross Sea continental slope. Data includes new multibeam swath bathymetry, sub-bottom profiles, seismic data and oceanographic data collected in 2017 and sediment cores collected during the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 374 in 2018.
signature of past slope processes are visible in newly collected seismic data
along the shelf edge of the Ross Sea margin. This includes buried
palaeo-gullies and channels at the shelf edge. This project aims to link these
features through seismic-sediment core integration to understand when gullies
and channels were active, the processes influencing their formation, and the
triggering mechanisms behind the processes. The project will include grain size
analysis using a laser particle size analyzer, sediment core and geotechnical
analysis and integration with oceanographic and geophysical datasets. This will
provide key insights into past ocean circulation, ice-sheet dynamics and
climate change, critical for future ice-sheet and sea-level predictions.
Gales, J., et al.,
2014. Marine Geology 337, 112-124.
McMillan, M., et al., 2014. GRL 14, 3899.