Geological Sciences

Geological Science has been, and continues to be, a major strength at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. Members, including Byrd Center researchers and faculty at the School of Earth Sciences, conduct interdisciplinary research in both Polar areas as well as in many related regions.

In Antarctica, Byrd Center geoscientists pioneered geological investigations of the Transantarctic Mountains beginning with the International Geophysical Year in 1957, and have been leaders since that time on the majority of helicopter supported field camps, such as the geoscience programs in the Shackleton and Beardmore Glacier regions, in national and international cooperative research initiatives, such as the Cape Roberts Drilling Project, and in the Scientific working groups of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and on national advisory groups concerned with polar science, including the Polar Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the Arctic, BPRC geoscientists have participated in the establishment of major national and international research initiatives, such as the Healy-Oden TransArctic Expedition (HOTRAX 2005), contributing significantly to the knowledge of arctic Quaternary paleoclimate, glaciation history, and recent sedimentary and oceanographic processes.

Byrd Center geoscientists are conducting investigations on several other continents to understand the role of Antarctica in global tectonics and continental evolution, and the role of historical ice sheets in the global climate-oceanographic system.

Geoscientists at the Byrd Center have developed new theories on ice-sheet and climate history, glaciogenic sedimentary processes, and continental configurations during global tectonic reorganizations. Byrd Center researchers are developing new applications of satellite image analysis to solve geological problems.

The Byrd Center maintains large, unique collections of geological samples and materials at the Polar Rock Repository (a National Science Foundation facility) and the Sediment Core Repository.