E&P Seminar: Solid Earth Deformation in the Antarctic Peninsula | Events

Doctor Grace Nield (Durham University) will host the Earth & Planets Seminar on Tuesday, March 1, “Solid Earth Deformation in the Antarctic Peninsula”.

Join us online by clicking “Livestream” on the seminar page at 12:30 p.m.


Antarctica is undergoing solid deformation of the earth in response to past and present changes in the extent and thickness of the ice sheet. When the weight of the ice sheet changes, the earth exhibits both an immediate elastic response and a delayed viscous response as the underlying mantle adjusts (also called glacial isostatic adjustment, GIA). Understanding GIA is important because it must be corrected from satellite gravity measurements to estimate the current change in ice mass and therefore Antarctica’s contribution to sea level change. However, GIA represents the largest uncertainty in estimates of Antarctic ice mass loss and models need to be improved to reduce this uncertainty.

GIA models typically used to correct for solid earth deformation from satellite measurements are not able to effectively pick up this signal in the Antarctic Peninsula. This is because the viscosity of the mantle underlying the Antarctic Peninsula is lower than the global average, which means that the Earth reacts more quickly to changes in ice load. Additionally, the Antarctic Peninsula is a region of rapid climate change with several ice shelves that have disintegrated over the past 100 years, resulting in accelerated outlet glaciers and increased mass loss.

In this talk, I will present ongoing work that aims to improve our understanding of solid earth deformation in the Antarctic Peninsula and how we can use geodetic measurements of deformation to help us.


Grace completed her PhD at Newcastle University in 2014 under the supervision of Matt King, Peter Clarke and Pippa Whitehouse and has been a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Geography at Durham University for the past five years. His research focuses on the deformation of solid earth in Antarctica due to recent changes in ice sheet loading and following large earthquakes. She’s never been to Antarctica and isn’t much of a fan of field work, preferring to spend her days tinkering with computer models! She has extensive work experience outside of academia and her previous jobs include geotechnical engineer, software developer, statistical modeler and travel agent.

About Stephen Arrington

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