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Buried Ice in Antarctica 2012

Another Way to Connect!
Dr. Dave Marchant's graduate student, Alistair Hayden, will also be connecting with students by blogging about the expedition at this site: [Boston University Antarctica Research Group - Field Blog(

2008 Expedition
You can also read Jackie's journals from her expedition in 2008, also with Dr. Marchant here.

Meet the Team

Associate Professor - Jacquelyn Hams

Jacquelyn Hams's picture
Los Angeles Valley College
Valley Glen , California
United States

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Hams is an Associate Professor of Earth Science at Los Angeles Valley Community College, where she teaches Physical Geology, Introduction to Oceanography, Environmental Science, and Planetary Science to many first generation college students. Ms. Hams has a scientific background in environmental and subsurface investigations in terrestrial and marine environments and experience working with Fortune 100 companies as an environmental consultant and as a petroleum geologist. Ms. Hams holds a Master's degree in Geology and enjoys sailing and outdoor photography.

Researcher - Dave Marchant

Dave Marchant's picture
Boston University
Boston , Massachusetts
United States

Dr. Dave Marchant has led 21 field expeditions to Antarctica. His research interests are in the fields of glacial and periglacial geomorphology, global climate change, and planetary geology. In his research, he links traditional geomorphic field observations in ice-free areas of the continent with state-of-the-art geophysical, remote sensing, and dating techniques. Dr. Marchant is currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Earth Sciences at Boston University. You can read more about Dr. Marchant and his research here []


December 14, 2012 Parting Shots

Photograph of Jackie Hams
Heading Home I am back at McMurdo preparing to leave the ice and return home. Although there were frequent weather delays, the time spent at the central Beacon Valley site turned out to be an expedition highlight for me in terms of making the Antarctic Dry Valleys/ Mars connection. Feel free to...

December 11, 2012 Glacial Landscapes on Earth and Mars

Jackie Hams examines buried ice.
There are similarities in the type and range of glacial features observed in the Antarctic Dry Valleys and on Mars. This journal focuses on the similarities between glacial landscapes on Earth and Mars. Watch my video introduction below and I will present some photographs of glacial features that...

December 8, 2012 Where's the Ice?

Photograph of Sean Mackay and GPR instrument
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is one of the instruments being used during the 2012 season to determine the presence and depth of buried ice in areas of the Dry Valleys.

December 5, 2012 Featured Researcher Sean Mackay

Another day - different weather. Notice the clear blue skies in the background! Select the link below for a video interview with the featured researcher from this expedition, Sean Mackay, who will explain the focus of his research in Antarctica. I met Sean in 2008 which was the first Antarctica...

December 2, 2012 It's Not Good or Bad - It's Just Weather

In case you are wondering why I have not posted lately, do you remember in a previous journal that I stated one of the hardest parts of the Antarctica experience is the weather? See the video below. Please continue to follow the team journal and I will catch up on postings when I am out of the...

Project Information

Quantifying surface processes above buried ice in Antarctica: Implications for terrestrial climate change and glaciation on Mars
Beacon Valley, Quartermain Mountains and McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica
15 November 2012
20 December 2012

Where are They?

Beacon Valley, Antarctica
Beacon Valley, Antarctica
The team will fly to McMurdo Station on a C-17 or C-130 aircraft and then to various field sites within the Dry Valleys via helicopter. Transportation around field sites is on foot, up to 8 miles per day. The field sites are rustic with each individual sharing a Scott tent for sleeping and all members sharing a dedicated cook tent for meals.

The McMurdo Dry Valleys are located on the western coast of McMurdo Sound and form the largest relatively ice-free area on the Antarctic continent. The perennially ice-covered lakes, frozen alpine glaciers, and extensive areas of exposed soil and permafrost within the McMurdo Dry Valleys are subject to low temperatures, limited snowfall, and salt accumulation.

What are they Doing?

Setting up a drill site in the Dry Valleys, Antarctica
Setting up a drill site in the Dry Valleys, Antarctica
A small team of earth scientists and engineers will be using a specialized drill to reach buried ice deposits in the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica. Stagnant and/or slow moving debris-covered glaciers may contain ice several million years in age. By comparison, the oldest ice yet cored from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is approximately 1 million years old. As a result, these buried ice deposits hold an ancient archive of Earth's past atmospheric conditions. Each ice core will enable the research team to gain access to a reliable record of atmospheric and climatic change extending back for many millions of years, making it by far the oldest ice yet known on this planet.

In addition to drilling for ancient ice, the team is working in the Dry Valleys to seek a better understanding of surface processes that play a critical role in maintaining and/or modifying buried glacier ice. Despite their age and potential to register long-term climate change, there has been surprisingly little research on the geologic and geomorphologic processes that both preserve and modify debris-covered glaciers in Antarctica. In addition, the cold-polar desert of the Dry Valleys is one of the most Mars-like climatic environments and landscapes on Earth, serving as a proxy for very ancient ice buried on Mars and providing insight into Martian history and the potential for life on Mars.


Title Date About Type
Back to the Ice! 14 December 2012 PolarTREC teacher Jacquelyn Hams' expedition is featured in Foundations: the Newsletter of the... Web Link