Expedition 374 and ice sheet modelling Conversation with Benjamin Keisling, scientist onboard the JOIDES Resolution during Expedition 374

Benjamin, can you please introduce you and explain your research topics? My name is Benjamin Keisling and I am part of the Sedimentology team onboard Expedition 374. I am a PhD Candidate in Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the USA. My PhD research centers on ice sheet modelling, and is particularly focused on how we can use proxy data to constrain uncertain processes and parameters in ice sheet models. In other words,…

The crucial role of ice shelves

The crucial role of ice shelves

What is an ice shelf? Ice shelves are floating tongues of ice that extend from grounded glaciers on land. The place where the ice sheets touch the ocean floor is called the grounding line. The grounding line is the border between the floating ice shelf and the land-based ice sheet. Ice shelves surround 75% of Antarctica’s coastline and they can be up to 2000 m thick. The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest one, and…

360 Video: Core on Deck

360 Video: Core on Deck

This is our first in a series of 360 videos. This video shows a core coming on deck on the catwalk. It fades to a microbiologist taking a sample from the core, and then the technicians beginning to take the 1.5 meter sections of the cores into the lab. On the wall opposite the core liner, you can see a micropaleontologist waiting for the core catcher sample to take back to the lab. In the…

The timelords of Exp. 374

The timelords of Exp. 374

During Expedition 374, there are 7 micropaleontologists and 2 paleomagnetist specialists who are working together to track the age of the cores. Meet the team and learn more about their work in the video below: What are microfossils? They are fossilized remains of tiny organisms such as algae. The fossils are formed from the hard parts of the organisms. We call these hard parts a test, which is really just a tiny shell. They are…

Not all ice sheets are the same!

Not all ice sheets are the same!

The Antarctic ice sheet is the main polar ice cap of the Earth and covers about 98% of the continent. About 61% of all the fresh water on Earth is held in this ice sheet which covers almost 14 million square kilometers. However, the ice sheet which covers West Antarctica does not have the same behavior as the one which lies on East Antarctica. This picture shows that the average ice thickness is different across…

Paleomagnetism for Rookies-Part one

Paleomagnetism for Rookies-Part one

Everybody knows that Earth has magnetic properties and has seen a compass needle moving towards the north. It’s due to the fact that Earth acts, in first order, as a giant bar magnet. Earth produces a magnetic field that extends from the interior of Earth out into the space. The magnetic field of Earth can be described at any location on Earth. The angle of this magnetic field relative to geographic north is called declination…

What will happen to sea level when this huge iceberg melts?

What will happen to sea level when this huge iceberg melts?

  ……………nothing!! You can try to use a very simple analogic model to understand. Let’s take few ice cubes (they are your iceberg!) and put them in a glass (your southern ocean) and ……………wait and see!   Nothing happens! This is so disappointing! And a little surprising for anyone who is not a physicist. So I asked a physicist for some help. It took him a least 5 min to understand what I did not…

Episode 1: Reaching the mid-Miocene

Episode 1: Reaching the mid-Miocene

  Episode 1: Reaching the mid-Miocene Drilling at the first site is complete. Scientists looked at cores that revealed the presence of former glaciations and reached back in time about 16 million years to the period of geologic history known as the mid-Miocene. The mid-Miocene is important because it was a warm period in Earth’s history, similar to how it is today. Because of this past warmth, the mid-Miocene may provide an analog to what lies in store…