Department of Geography, University of Otago, MSc
An investigation into the origin, formation and deformation of salt deposits in the Hobbs Glacier Region, Antarctica
This proposal describes research that will advance our understanding of the coupling that occurs between glaciers and permafrost. The prevailing view of basal processes in glaciers underlain by sediment is that the glacier dynamics are controlled by the availability of water at the bed. Sub-glacial water can lubricate the ice sediment interface, which results in sliding and decoupling of the glacier from its bed. However, new knowledge of basal processes beneath modern cold-based glaciers together with growing recognition of widespread deformed Pleistocene permafrost in Arctic Canada and Russia suggest that the dynamic behaviour of coldbased glaciers can be strongly influenced by sub-glacial processes. One characteristic of permafrost that is often overlooked in studies of glacier-permafrost interactions is that permafrost frequently contains elevated salt concentrations, particularly in high latitude, arid environments such as the McMurdo Dry Valleys. The purpose of this investigation is to understand the origin of extensive salt deposits preserved in ice cored moraines adjacent to Hobbs Glacier, to understand how these salt deposits have been deformed by glaciers that have advance over thepermafrost and to determine if the salt deposits have altered glacier behaviour.