Global Change in Local Places

Steven Babcock, Louisiana State University Laboratory School,

Sophie Warny, Louisiana State University

Frank Nitsche, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Published: May 2013


In this chapter, you will learn more about how scientists study Earth's past climate using sediment cores and fossilized pollen. Organic-walled material, such as pollen, has been recovered by the National Science Foundation's polar research vessel, the Nathaniel B. Palmer, as part of the shallow drilling (SHALDRIL) effort. This drilling effort took place near the Antarctic Peninsula. The fossilized pollen in the core can be correlated to the age of sediments in which it is located, giving scientists information about past climates.

You will upload core data from the recent SHALDRIL expedition to Antarctica into GeoMapApp and investigate Antarctica's past climate and species distribution. In particular, you will use the pollen data recovered from the cores to show the decline in plant life that began during the geologic time period known as the Eocene. You will relate the Antarctica's past plant assemblages to modern vegetation distribution and produce computer-generated visualizations to communicate your findings.

This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook. Each chapter provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.

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