Identifier

etd-04092009-091121

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geology and Geophysics

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The main concern of this study is to discover how the transition from a shallow to an overdeepened, foredeepened shelf might affect grounding-line translation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Deep shelves permit a larger influx of relatively warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), which melts the ice at grounding lines, and thereby, create a potentially unstable situation in which ice retreat may accelerate. Numerical analysis of the responses of marine ice sheets on various shelf profiles confirmed that a change in shelf morphology changes ice sheet dynamics. Ice sheet retreat on an overdeepened, foredeepened shelf is, at least, 3 times faster than ice sheet retreat on a shallow shelf that deepens toward the basin. Therefore, we can conclude that as the shelf transformed from its previous shallow, slightly dipping configuration to the present overdeepened, foredeepened configuration the ice sheet, indeed, became more susceptible to rapid retreat.

Date

2009

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Philip Bart

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