Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New atlas provides highest-resolution imagery of the Polar Regions seafloor

25.04.2017

The most comprehensive and high-resolution atlas of the seafloor of both Polar Regions is presented this week (Tuesday 25 April) at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU) in Vienna. Over 250 marine geologists and glaciologists from around the world have spent the last four years collating stunning seafloor and glacial landform images to publish the new Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms. This new compilation enables researchers to interpret the history of the Earth's large ice sheets and view how environmental change has re-shaped the continents.

Thousands of square kilometres of the seafloor, covering an area the size of Great Britain, showcase a range of geological phenomena such as plough marks, scratched on the seafloor by the underwater keels of huge icebergs, and glacial lineations - streamlined ridges up to tens of kilometres long moulded on the beds of fast-flowing glaciers.


An almost circular iceberg ploughmark from south of Brasvelbreen, Svalbard. Red 25 m water depth, green 50 m.

Credit: Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms (2017)


This polygonal or geometric patterns on the shallow seafloor (10-17 m water depth) here shown on a side-scan sonar image, were formed when the area was emergent (land) during the last glacial and was permanently frozen but not covered by glaciers. Thermal contraction of the ground causes cracks with these geometric shapes with the high parts being raised about 1 m from the surrounding seafloor. The area was probably submerged again around 7 or 8 thousand years ago.

Credit: Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms (2017)

More than 35 individual landforms feature and are described, ranging from dramatic features in the East Siberian permafrost to trough-mouth fans - enormous sediment deposits that build up at the mouths of the largest glaciers. The scientists examine the "fingerprint" of past glaciers and ice sheets on the seafloor where they have previously advanced and retreated due to changes in the Earth's climate.

Dr Kelly Hogan, a geophysicist at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and an editor of the volume, is presenting the atlas at the EGU in Vienna. She says:

... more about:
»Antarctic »Antarctica »Arctic »BAS »EGU »GLACIERS »Polar »seafloor

"It's exciting to see the atlas finally in print. It's a huge achievement to bring together all these images in a way that will enable us to interpret the polar seafloor landscape like never before. And it's a beautiful representation of what the seafloor can tell us about the past, much like a tree ring. For the first time it brings together examples of the more widely known glacial landforms. For example mega-scale glacial lineations offshore the Antarctic Peninsula but also of rare, enigmatic features like 40 km-long needle-shaped ridges in the Barents Sea and frost polygons - raised mounds with geometric patterns - formed in a permafrost landscape (then submerged by the sea) in the Laptev Sea, Eastern Siberia.

"The value in having these beautiful exemplars in one volume is that we can now compare features from a range of locations and climatic settings (mild to extreme cold) and gain key information on past ice dynamics and ice retreat."

Advances in ice-breaking research vessels and the use of state-of-the-art acoustic methods have produced high-resolution seafloor imagery from water depths of tens to thousands of metres, presenting it in a three dimensional context.

Lead Editor Professor Julian Dowdeswell, who is the Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University, says:

"The individual glacial landforms and groups of landforms presented in the atlas cover a wide geographic spread from the coldest environments on the planet in East Antarctica to the warmest areas where ice reaches the sea like the fjords of Chile or Alaska. Most examples in the atlas were created since the last glacial about 20 000 years ago, but it also includes landforms from "ancient" glaciations. For example, glacial lineations that are several kilometres long are found across the Murzuq Basin in Libya, formed by an ice sheet that grew over Africa around 450 million years ago when the continent was sitting over the South Pole. These "ancient" glacial landforms are strikingly similar to the features we see on the seafloor around Antarctica today that were made by an expanded Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last glacial cold period."

The atlas is presented at a session at the EGU 2017 science conference in Vienna, Austria on Wednesday 26 April. It was published recently as Memoir 46 of the Geological Society of London.

###

Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press Office:

Dr Kelly Hogan will present the atlas at a press conference in the media centre at EGU. Polar Regions: Arctic sea-ice future, Antarctic ice-shelf stability, and glacial landforms takes place on Tuesday 25 April, 10.00 - 11.00. For media enquiries at EGU please contact: Athena Dinar, Senior PR & Communications Manager, British Antarctic Survey, tel: +44 (0)1223 221 441; mobile: +44 (0)7909 008516; email: amdi@bas.ac.uk

Other media enquiries to Jon Fuhrmann, British Antarctic Survey, tel: +44 (0)1223 221 506; mobile: +44 (0) 7850 541911: jonann@bas.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

In an unprecedented international collaboration, scientists from 75 institutions across 20 countries have combined their expertise and knowledge of glaciers and their interaction with the seafloor. The atlas contains more than 200 seafloor images as well as seafloor photographs. It is the first volume of its kind for 20 years and images glacial landforms up to five times smaller than was possible before modern acoustic mapping techniques were developed.

Geological Society website: https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/M0046

Lyell Collection: http://mem.lyellcollection.org/content/46/1.toc

The Geological Society of London, founded in 1807, is a learned and professional body of over 12,000 Earth scientists with a remit to investigate, interpret, discuss, inform and advise on the nature and processes of the Earth, their practical importance to humanity, and, in the interests of the public, to promote professional excellence. The Society offers advice to Parliament and Government, at individual and corporate levels. Registered Charity No. 210161.

The Geological Society Publishing House publishes over 280,000 peer-reviewed pages in the Lyell Collection Complete, which includes seven journals, over 425 special publications, Engineering Geology Special Publications, 47 Memoirs and five Petroleum Geology Conference Proceedings. http://www.lyellcollection.org

British Antarctic Survey (BAS), an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistic capability and know-how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs. For more information visit http://www.bas.ac.uk

The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) is part of the University of Cambridge. It is an international centre for research into the Polar Regions and is also home to unrivalled resources of polar information and expertise, housing the world's largest polar library, Britain's only dedicated polar museum, and a national repository for polar archives that record some of the most memorable episodes in exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic. For more information visit http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk

Media Contact

Athena Dinar
amdi@bas.ac.uk
44-790-900-8516

 @BAS_News

http://www.nerc-bas.ac.uk 

Athena Dinar | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Antarctic Antarctica Arctic BAS EGU GLACIERS Polar seafloor

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Abrupt cloud clearing events over southeast Atlantic Ocean are new piece in climate puzzle
23.07.2018 | University of Kansas

nachricht Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas
19.07.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Enabling technology in cell-based therapies: Scale-up, scale-out or program in-place

23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

Abrupt cloud clearing events over southeast Atlantic Ocean are new piece in climate puzzle

23.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

The Maturation Pattern of the Hippocampus Drives Human Memory Deve

23.07.2018 | Science Education

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>