FAQs

What is iceberg grounding?

Icebergs ‘ground’ on the ocean floor when their keel is deeper than the water depth. They may become stuck until high tide floats them off, or if they are washed into a shallow area, until they melt sufficiently to float away.

How are ice cores dated?

I was wondering how ice cores are dated accurately. I know Carbon 14 is one method, but some ice cores go back hundreds of thousands of years. Would other isotopes with longer half-lives be more accurate? Also, how much does it cost to date the core? How are samples acquired without destroying the ice? I … Read more

The news about the effect of climate change in the Arctic centres on the loss of polar bears. Will there be a similar effect with wildlife in the Antarctic?

Parts of Antarctica are warming rapidly, and this is affecting snowfall, snowmelt, sea ice distribution and thickness, and ice shelves. Different species are affected in different ways by these processes. Emperor penguins are often cited as one of the most vulnerable animals. Over the past 50 years, the population of Emperors in Terre Adelie has … Read more

What is the headwall of a glacier?

Asked by Haifeng The headwall of a glacier is the rocky wall at the top end (head) of a glacier. There are some nice illustrations here.

How are icebergs made?

Asked by Yasmin Icebergs form when chunks of ice break off (‘calve’) from a glacier or ice shelf that ends in the ocean.

What are the major drawbacks or limitations of cosmogenic nuclide dating of glacially transported boulders or glacially eroded bedrock in Antarctica?

Asked by Subrat Hi Subrat, This is a great question. Cosmogenic nuclide dating works really well in Antarctica because the lack of organic material often precludes radiocarbon dating (although advances have been made, for example, by dating bird vomit!). Cosmogenic nuclide dating can be applied to glacially transported boulders or glacially eroded bedrock, and gives … Read more

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