Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Team Studies Antarctica’s Climate Past

15.10.2010
Some middle school students will get a unique perspective on research conducted more than 9,000 miles away by a team that includes a veteran of Antarctic expeditions.

A five-member team from North Dakota State University’s Department of Geosciences heads to Antarctica this October to conduct research on Antarctica’s climate history.

The team, whose research is funded by the National Science Foundation, includes Allan Ashworth, distinguished professor of geosciences; Adam Lewis, assistant professor of geosciences; geology undergraduate students Michael Ginsbach and Chad Crotty, and Alex Smith, graduate student in environmental and conservation sciences.

The team will divide their efforts between mapping glacial deposits and collecting fossils of tundra plants and animals from which they will derive estimates of summer temperatures. Smith will focus his graduate research on using deposits of volcanic ash to precisely date the ancient glacial deposits. Initial work suggests the fossils are more than 19 million years old, suggesting they date from a time before the continent was buried beneath the massive ice sheet of today.

The team flies to New Zealand to be supplied with cold-weather gear before heading to McMurdo Station, the U.S. National Science Foundation's base of Antarctic operations. From McMurdo, the NDSU team will establish a helicopter-supported tent camp in the Dry Valleys region and later will move by ski-equipped aircraft to Oliver Bluffs, some 300 miles from the South Pole. Work at Oliver Bluffs presents unique challenges. Long supply routes complicate logistics and the terrain includes glacier ice, loose rocky soils and near-vertical cliff faces. The team will spend seven weeks in the field before returning to Fargo in late December.

To encourage K-12 students’ interest in science, the NDSU team will make weekly contact with several elementary and middle school classrooms in the Fargo, N.D.-Moorhead, Minn., area using a satellite phone system. Ginsbach, who is pursuing a second major in education, is coordinating communications through Ben Franklin Middle School, Fargo, N.D. The group plans to relay weekly research goals to participating classrooms, with follow-up conversations to discuss successes and setbacks.

The areas of Antarctica that the NDSU field team will conduct research are areas where Ashworth started his Antarctic research 15 years ago. As Ashworth expects this to be his last research expedition to Antarctica, he says his many expeditions to the frozen continent and the rewards of the research have been a “totally uplifting experience not to have been missed.”

Previously, an international team of scientists including NDSU’s Ashworth and Lewis, and David Marchant, an earth scientist at Boston University, combined evidence from glacial geology, paleoecology, dating of volcanic ashes and computer modeling, to report a major climate change centered on 14 million years ago. The earlier discovery of fossilized ostracods received global interest.

Ashworth and Lewis, along with then NDSU students Andrew Podoll and Kelly Gorz, were featured in the documentary, “Ice People,” by Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion. The film has been screened at science museums and film festivals in Australia, Vancouver, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Jerusalem and Fargo.

The Ashworth Glacier within the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica has been named after Dr. Ashworth, honoring his significant contribution to science (palaenontology and stratigraphy) in Antarctica. Discoveries by Ashworth and his teams in Oliver Bluffs in the Beardmore region include the first fossil beetles and a fossil fly from Antarctica, as well as fossil mosses and seeds showing that Antarctica was not always the cold, icy place that it is today.

Ashworth currently serves as chair of the U.S. National Committee for the International Union for Quaternary Research and is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Quaternary Science.

The research described here is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation’s Polar Programs.

For more information:
Dr. Allan Ashworth, North Dakota State University
www.ndsu.nodak.edu/instruct/ashworth/
Dr. Adam R. Lewis, North Dakota State University
http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/pubweb/~adalewis/Adam_Lewis.html
National Science Foundation
Antarctic fossils paint a picture of a much warmer continent
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111913
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
http://www.pnas.org/content/105/31/10676
Ice People
http://www.icepeople.com
Science Magazine
“Freeze-Dried Findings Support a Tale of Two Ancient Climates”
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/320/5880/1152

Dr. Allan Ashworth | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>