US Team - PI: E. Attias (UTIG), co-PI: R. Evans (WHOI)
European Team - PI: R. Urgeles (CSIC), co-PI: X. Garcia (CSIC)
Collaborators: S. Wang (NTNU), M. D. L. F. Ruiz (Université Libre de Bruxelles), H. M. Moreno (Univ. of Southampton)
Dynamics of Melting Ice Sheets, Isostatic Rebound, and Methane Transformation in West Antarctica: Impacts on the Southern Ocean Carbon Budget
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.
The cruise is scheduled for January 2025 onboard R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa.
The proposal will be resubmitted to the NSF-OPP program on Jan 05, 2024.
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.
Motivation & Methodologies: Brain map illustrating the hypothesized processes occurring at AP and the diverse methods ICEFLAME will apply to study these processes and their intrinsic active dynamics.
Survey Plan: ICEFLAME survey layout of the EM (MT/CSEM) and multichannel seismic (MCS) data aquasition.