Earth Institute Research Projects

Collaborative Research: Geological constraints on the disappearance of the Laurentide Ice Sheet

Lead PI: Nicolas E. Young , Dr. Joerg Michael Schaefer , Dr. Gisela Winckler

Unit Affiliation: Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

June 2020 - May 2023
Arctic ; Baffin Island
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) once covered much of the North American continent. It grows and expands during cold periods and contracts during warm periods in Earth's recent geological past. Today, the last remaining vestige of the LIS is the Barnes Ice Cap, located on central Baffin Island. While tracking the size of the LIS at times when it was significantly larger than today is relatively straightforward, constraining the size and frequency of LIS minima is much more challenging but can provide a long-term context in which to evaluate the current small state of the Barnes Ice Cap. For this project, the investigators will use new, cutting-edge geological techniques to piece together how often the LIS reaches its current dimensions. The team will be led by an early-career Hispanic geoscientist, and the project will train one doctoral and two undergraduate student. The investigators will participate in institutional open houses that are available to the public and recruit undergraduate student participation through institutional internship programs.