The research is giving us an understanding of the entrainment, transfer and deposition of sediment by ice shelves. The investigation of the structure, composition and motion of the Southern McMurdo Ice shelf will develop a model for the accretion and transfer of ice and debris in ice shelves and a glaciological basis for palaeoclimatic reconstructions derived from ice shelf moraines. Defining the ... glaciological basis of ice shelf moraine formation is essential to understanding the age and chronology of ice shelf moraines, which are widely used to reconstruct the timing and magnitude of Late Pleistocene ice advances. To gain an understanding of the age and chronology of ice shelf moraines, ice cores will be taken from the McMurdo ice shelf to look at the composition of the ice (isotopes and solute chemistry).
To achieve these objectives we are using surface mapping from aerial photographs and satellite imagery together with a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the subsurface geometry of the ice shelf. This research will give us a good understanding of the entrainment, transfer, deposition and deformation of sediment adjacent to the margin of a thin, partly grounded ice shelf (the McMurdo Ice Shelf). The motion of the ice shelf is being monitored by GPS surveying of stakes drilled into the surface of the ice shelf and analysed each year for displacement.