Mariana Esteves has been invited to contribute to the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) expedition 379 to the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica.
Text: Maja Sojtaric
The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) is an international marine research collaboration that explores Earth’s history and dynamics using ocean-going research platforms. The aim of the IODP expeditions is to recover data recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks and to monitor sub seafloor environments.
Mariana Esteves, a PhD candidate at CAGE, will participate as sedimentologist in the Amundsen Sea West Antarctic Ice Sheet History Expedition 379 The expedition will take place mid-January to mid-March of 2019.
«I’m really excited to take part in this IODP expedition – it’s a fantastic opportunity. During two months in early 2019, we will collect several sediment records from Amundsen Sea, which we can then use to reconstruct the glacial history of West Antarctic Ice Sheet and identify the processes of importance for ice retreat in the area.» says Esteves.
The expedition will obtain records from the continental shelf and rise of the Amundsen Sea to document West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) dynamics. WAIS is largely marine-based, highly sensitive to climatic and oceanographic changes and if completely melted, could result in a global sea-level rise of up to four metres.
Barents sea ice sheet – a good analogue
This is the ice sheet that currently experiences the largest ice loss in Antarctica yet the timescale and processes by which this may occur are still of significant uncertainty. Investigating clues left following previous collapses of the WAIS can provide important context and insights into what may lie ahead, improving future predictions.
The sediment records collected during the IODP Expedition 379 will enable scientists to better understand the glacial history of the area and the environmental impact of this enormous ice sheet. Mariana Esteves is currently working on reconstructing the glacial history of the central Barents Sea in the Arctic.
“The past ice sheet over the Barents Sea is a good analogue for the present day West Antarctic Ice Sheet as it was also marine-based with many similarities. Following the IODP expedition I hope to compare records from WAIS with records of the Barents Sea Ice Sheet.” says Esteves.