Antarctic Drilling Program


Date of this Version



Citation: Graham, A.G.C., R.D. Larter, K. Gohl, C.-D. Hillenbrand, J.A. Smith, J.S. Johnson and G. Kuhn (2007), Late Quaternary ice sheet dynamics and deglaciation history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Amundsen Sea Embayment: Preliminary results from recent research cruises, in Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World – Online Proceedings of the 10th ISAES X, edited by A.K. Cooper and C.R. Raymond et al., USGS Open-File Report 2007-1047, Extended Abstract 127, 4 p.


The threat, in terms of sea level rise, posed by the potential rapid deglaciation of West Antarctica means there is an urgent need to know more about the speed and style of marine ice sheet retreat. Quaternary deglacial events recorded in marine sediments provide an opportunity to understand the future of the modern day ice sheet. In this context, we examine the glacial history of a particularly poorly understood sector of the West Antarctic continental shelf – the Amundsen Sea Embayment –using new data from two recent research cruises. This extended abstract describes how marine geological and geophysical data are being used alongside terrestrial dating methods to understand the full extents, dynamics and retreat pattern of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Amundsen Sea region during the last glacial cycle. These data hold significance for understanding and accurately modelling the stability and climate sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.