Discover Clues from a Colder Climate with GeoMapApp

Steven Babcock, Louisiana State University Laboratory School

Philip J. Bart, LSU, Geology and Geophysics

Sophie Warny, LSU, Geology and Geophysics

Betsy Youngman, Curriculum Developer, TERC

Published: February 2015


In this activity, you will learn how scientists are investigating evidence of changes to Earth's climate over the last 20,000 years. You will use GeoMapApp to search for evidence of glacial expansion and retreat. Ice sheets have left a variety of geologic features on the Antarctic continental shelf that can be observed using bathymetric data collected by the National Science Foundation's polar research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer (pictured right). These data hold clues about the timing and scale of glacial retreat and can be used to infer how current observed warming might impact ice mass balance. This is particularly important given the potential for economic and social disruption from sea-level changes associated with Antarctica's changing ice.

You will upload and use the free online web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) tool, GeoMapApp, and published data sets to search out and map geologic features generated by glacial processes in the Ross Sea. You will produce a research report of your findings modeled on peer-reviewed papers in the field of glaciology.

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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