Large calving events of the Petermann Ice Tongue, Northwest Geenland, in 2010 and 2012 seem unprecedented in the context of the limited historical record, dating back to the 1875-1876 British Arctic Expedition led by Sir Nares, and more recent satellite observations of the last two decades. Modern studies demonstrate that this marine based sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet is especially sensitive to oceanic forcing, but paleo data are required to provide a more holistic context of these changes.
To further our understanding of this system, The OSU P-mag lab participated in an international and interdisciplinary expedition onboard the Swedish Icebreaker Oden to Nares Strait and Petermann Fjord, collecting an impressive suite of geophysical data and geological samples. These include sediment cores that capture deglacial and Holocene oceanographic and glaciologic changes, which the P-mag lab has been working hard to characterize with a suite of non-destructive techniques, like environmental magnetics, scanning XRF, and CT scans. Additionally, these sediments hold a strong, stable, and reproducible characteristic remanent magnetization, providing a high-resolution window to the paleogeomagnetic field at latitudes greater than 80o N. Check out the Petermann Glacial History website for additional resources, blog posts from the 2015 expedition, and more information on the many associated projects.
Nares Strait and Petermann Fjord are not only incredibly interesting places to work, they are breath-takingly beautiful places to visit as well. Our 2015 field season will be something we will never forget.