Elevation of subglacial temperatures

Thermal Isostasy Derived Models

Thermal isostasy derived models

The focus of this project is to develop a model of the compositional and thermal effects on elevation across the Antarctic that may be used by glacial modellers.

Geothermal heat loss into the base of large ice sheets affects the internal glacial temperatures, which influence glacial stability, melt productivity, and rate of flow. Accurate estimates of subglacial temperatures are therefore necessary for developing accurate predictions of future sea-level rise.

Elevation is perhaps the simplest geophysical observation we can make but it is often overlooked when developing models of the interior. Elevation represents the balance between buoyancy forces (thermal and compositional) and flexure in response to loads (strength of the lithosphere). Hence if the compositional buoyancy can be determined, elevation can be used to predict the thermal state of the lithosphere. 

The aim of the project is two-fold:

  • develop a model compositional buoyancy; and
  • develop a three-dimensional model of heat production of the lithosphere to improve the estimates of the thermal state of the Antarctic lithosphere.

As part of this project, you will gain familiarity with seismic models of crustal structure, physical properties of rocks, the distribution of heat producing elements within the lithosphere, and Earth's heat loss.

You will learn computer modelling and visualisation (Matlab, GMT).


Tagged in Honours projects - Geophysics, Honours Projects - Derrick Hasterok, Honours Projects - Graham Heinson, Honours Projects - Martin Hand