[Parameters: Topic='LAND SURFACE', Term='FROZEN GROUND', Variable_Level_1='PERIGLACIAL PROCESSES']
Landscape Evolution in Transantarctic MountainsEntry ID: TAM_Geomorph
Abstract: The main objective in geomorphology is to understand how the landscapes evolve over time. This sets the limits and constraints to much of other geological research and is central in deciphering the preserved landforms attesting of past environments. Over the years the geomorphologists have gained a good understanding of the rates of landscape evolution in most of the terrestrial environments. ... However, we still know very little of landscape evolution in the coldest deserts on Earth which are found in the Transantarctic Mountains.
This proposed project would take place in two unique field areas in the coldest and driest part of the Transantarctic Mountains (Ong Valley at Nimrod Glacier and Moraine Canyon at Amundsen Glacier) where the current lack of running water and biological activity is thought to preserve the landscape essentially unchanged for millions of years. Contrary to this common belief, the PIs hypothesize that the landscape evolves perhaps as much as many surfaces in the Dry Valleys area, where both loose soil and bedrock surfaces have been degrading at a rate of about 1-2 m/Myrs for the past several million years. If the hypothesized relatively high erosion rates hold true it would be futile for example to search for in situ deposited ancient volcanic sediments such as tephra, signs of past biological activity such as microfossils, or glacial scour marks on bedrock in the southern TAM as the erosion would have eradicated those in just a few 100 kyrs.
Purpose: Little is known currently of the rates of the landscape evolution in the coldest and driest deserts on Earth. This proposed project is challenging the generally accepted assumption of little or no degradation over periods of millions of years and potentially transforming the existing understanding of the rates of geomorphic processes in the southern TAM. These results will also fill the gap in the fundamental understanding of the evolution of the Earth?s surface and directly aid for example in evaluating the imagery of Martian geomorphology (NASA HiRise and Phoenix lander imagery).
LAND SURFACE > EROSION/SEDIMENTATION > DEGRADATION
LAND SURFACE > EROSION/SEDIMENTATION > EROSION
LAND SURFACE > EROSION/SEDIMENTATION > SEDIMENT TRANSPORT
LAND SURFACE > EROSION/SEDIMENTATION > WEATHERING
LAND SURFACE > FROZEN GROUND > ACTIVE LAYER
LAND SURFACE > FROZEN GROUND > PERIGLACIAL PROCESSES
LAND SURFACE > FROZEN GROUND > PERMAFROST
LAND SURFACE > FROZEN GROUND > ROCK GLACIERS
LAND SURFACE > GEOMORPHIC LANDFORMS/PROCESSES
LAND SURFACE > GEOMORPHIC LANDFORMS/PROCESSES > GLACIAL PROCESSES
Email: putkonen at u.washington.edu
Province or State: WA
Postal Code: 98195
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2014-02-28
Last DIF Revision Date: 2016-11-18