NSF-NERC: Stability and Instability of Records of External Drivers and Resulting Behavior of Thwaites Glacier

Lead PI: Dr. Frank O Nitsche

Unit Affiliation: Marine and Polar Geophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

April 2018 - March 2023
Antarctica ; Southern Ocean ; Amundsen Sea ; Thwaites Glacier
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Thwaites Offshore Research (THOR) is a ship-based and ice-based project that will examine the sedimentary records both offshore from the glacier and beneath the ice shelf, together with glacial landforms on the sea bed, to reconstruct past changes in ocean conditions and the glaciers response to these changes.

Data collection will be split over two research cruises combining marine geophysical surveying and geological sampling. In addition, sediment cores will be collected beneath the ice sheet via access holes made by hot water drilling.

The first cruise will focus on surveying the seafloor in the region, using swath bathymetry, and obtaining a set of sediment cores. The second cruise will complete the survey coverage, and collect sediment cores targeted on the basis of the new survey data. The team will also collect seismic reflection profiles to reveal the three dimensional form of landforms and the distribution of sediments the continental shelf from which the glacier has retreated.

Official project page for more details: https://thwaitesglacier.org/projects/thor


University of Houston


National Science Foundation




University of Houston; British Antarctic Survey; University of Alabama, University of Virginia; Rice University




ice sheets glaciers sea level rise bathymetric pathways continental shelf bathymetry warm water


Modeling and Adapting to Future Climate