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WHO WE ARE
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US Team -  PI:  E. Attias (UTIG),  co-PI: R. Evans (WHOI)

European Team - PI:  R. Urgeles (CSIC), co-PI: X. Garcia (CSIC)

 Collaborators: M. D. L. F. Ruiz (Université Libre de Bruxelles), H. M. Moreno (Univ. of Southampton)

ICEFLAME

Basal Melting and Hydrate Instability in West Antarctica: Quantifying Their Combined Impact on the Southern Ocean Carbon Cycle

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West Antarctica experienced a significant ice-sheet retreat during LGM, manifested by isostatic rebound, continental uplift, and, potentially, the accumulation of freshwater masses in the subsurface. Nowadays, the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) undergoes extensive basal melting, supplying fresh water to the Southern Ocean. AP's nutrient-rich freshwater fluxes and uplift promote gas hydrate dissociation from the sub-seabed to the water column and potentially subsequent methane transformation to CO2. Dissolved CO2 in the seawater commonly forms bicarbonate and precipitate (i.e., removing carbon from the ocean). Alternatively, CO2 may stimulate water acidification, thereby adding carbon to the Southern Ocean's circulation. The interplay between ice-sheet melting,  isostatic rebound,  and methane transformation CO2 at AP is poorly understood. ICEFLAME aims to gain new insights into these processes, possibly contributing to the global carbon cycle. 

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PROJECT STATUS
 

The cruise is scheduled for January 2025 onboard R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa

COLLABORATORS

PROJECT STATUS

 

 NSF-OPP #2422060: Pending

COLLABORATORS

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To study the complex processes at AP, the ICEFLAME international team of scientists will combine marine EM, multichannel seismic, core, and water sampling datasets for geochemical and biological analysis, supporting effective medium modeling and new geotechnical and numerical modeling to estimate methane transformation to C02 and subsequent influx of carbon to the Southern Ocean.  

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Antarctic Peninsula dynamic processes. Brain map illustrating independent processes observed at AP. Hypothesized interactions between processes are denoted by relationship arrows/lines. Blue and green rectangular show basal melting and hydrate instability-driven processes, respectively. ICEFLAME methodologies: Red fonts specify the US team methods. Blue fonts mark the methods to be applied by the project EU team.

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Survey Plan:  A map illustrating the proposed CSEM and multichannel seismic (MCS) experiment at AP. OBEMs will be strategically placed to record continuous long-period MT data throughout the survey. This effort will be complemented by integrating legacy core data accessible through OSU's NSF-supported Marine Geology Repository. The distribution of bottom heat flow measurements adapted from Fuchs et al., (2023). Numerous anomalies in sea surface salinity (SSS) and temperature (SST) have been identified within the area targeted for our proposed survey Boyer et al., (2018). We will collect about 350 km of CSEM data using  R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa.

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ice-sheet melt fluid flow

ICEFLAME

Cruise area: Antarctic Peninsula
Cruise date: January 2025 (30 days)
Ship spec: R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa

Ship current location: MarineTraffic
Ship MMSI: 224713000

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