Totten Glacier System in East Antarctica


Now Archived: Live event (webinar) with Glenn Clark and the researcher team aboard the Palmer.

Glenn Clark hosted a great webinar sharing all the experiences he had while sailing to Antarctica and studying the Totten Glacier System. Check out this presentation and other webinars at the PolarConnect Event Archives.

What Are They Doing?

The Totten Glacier on the edge of the Southern Ocean, AntarcticaThe Totten Glacier on the edge of the Southern Ocean, Antarctica This project investigated the marine system of the Totten Glacier and Moscow University Ice Shelf, East Antarctica which has shown a recent increase in ice loss. This system is of critical importance because it drains one-eighth of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and contains a volume equivalent to nearly 7 meters of potential sea level rise, greater than the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This rarely explored region is the single largest, least understood, and potentially unstable marine glacial system in the world. Despite intense scrutiny of marine-based systems in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, little is known about the Totten Glacier system.

This project conducted a ship-based marine geologic and geophysical survey of the region, combined with a physical oceanographic study. The results have added to our understanding of the oceanographic and glacial system and its potentially sensitive response to environmental change. This endeavor complemented studies of other Antarctic ice shelves, oceanographic studies near the Antarctic Peninsula, and ongoing development of ice sheet and other ocean models.

Where Are They?

The icebreaker R/V Nathanial B. PalmerThe icebreaker R/V Nathanial B. Palmer The research team worked on the East Antarctic coast including the remote Totten Glacier System and Moscow University Ice Shelf. The group arrived and departed from the southern ice via Tasmania. All field work was conducted on board the icebreaker R/V Nathanial B. Palmer. The Nathanial B. Palmer serves as a platform for up to 37 scientists and can operate safely year-round in Antarctic waters that are often stormy or ice-covered.


An iceberg off the coast of East Antarctica
After nearly a year since the completion of the NBP 1402 expedition to East Antarctica the Abstract of the findings have been published. The scientists Have completed their reports and have submitted them at the Annual American Geophysical Union held in December in San Francisco. Below is my interpretation of the findings. As new information becomes available I hope to provide further information. Iceberg frozen in the sea ice What questions did the expedition hope to answer? What are the characteristics of the ocean floor in terms of topography and geology? How much water from...
My 8th period class and I
Getting adjusted to life at home and work. As you can see from the picture, it is back to school for me! My 8th period class and I After a few days In Hobart, Tasmania getting my land legs back, it was time to board the plane. In my case five planes. Hobart to Melbourne, Melbourne to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Newark, Newark to Albany and finally Albany to Massena. When you include lay overs the trip was a full 2 days. Boy oh boy was I happy to get home. A little window dressing by the 2nd graders. Thanks kids! I was blessed with the opportunity to have been part the now completed...
The Southern Ocean from the galley port hole
2 days to port! We have managed to make our way through the screaming 60's, furious 50's and are working our way through the roaring 40's latitudes. I now know why they are considered the perhaps roughest seas on earth. As I write this we are 90 nautical miles south of the 200 mile International waters boundary of Australia, speeding away at 10 knots. The last few days have been the roughest so far in terms of weather and waves. Wind speeds were sustained at 70+ knots with waves 40+ ft. It made for quite a ride. Meals as an example had to be altered as it was very hard for the cooks to...
J.P. Pierce, chief engineer in front of the control panel in the engine room.
Keeping the screws turning and the lights burning. J.P. Pierce, chief engineer in front of the control panel in the engine room. We are continuing to pack up. I took a quick break to run up to the bridge. It was shift change and Rob was discussing the next four hours with Brandon. I looked out the wall of windows. Is asked Brandon ,"is that the direction we are heading". It didn't look too bad. He responded "yes, but look to the west", that weather will be in our course shortly." Oh boy… looks like things are going to get rough soon. I guess that is why these latitudes are called the...
Securing some of the science equipment for the crossing
Our science mission is officially completed. Everyone can now do a collective sigh of relief. No more split shifts, mid rats, deployments and processing. Oh yeah we need to pack! Preparing for the crossing. Securing some of the science equipment for the crossing I mentioned earlier that this is an interdisciplinary science cruise. Doing this type of cruise appears to becoming more and more popular as an effort to curb costs and enable the teams of scientists to work together. We were able to complete 100's of deployments in Marine Geology, Geophysics and Physical Oceanography. We have a...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

20 January 2014 to 18 March 2014
Location: Totten Glacier and Moscow University Ice Shelf, East Antarctica aboard the R/V Palmer
Project Funded Title: Collaborative Research: Totten Glacier System and the Marine Record of Cryosphere – Ocean Dynamics

Meet the Team

Glenn Clark's picture
Parishville-Hopkinton Central School
Parishville, NY
United States

Glenn Clark has been a wilderness studies and biology teacher for the past 29 years at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School in Parishville, New York. Prior to his teaching career he spent four years as Park and Assistant Forest Ranger in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York. Mr. Clark grew up in northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and the Adirondack State Park.

The Wilderness Studies program relies heavily on field-based activities, trips, and practical assessments. The program, developed by Mr. Clark, focuses on three main subjects: outdoor leadership training, Adirondack ecology and sportsman's education and outdoor survival. In his personal life Mr. Clark enjoys waterfowl and big game hunting, "old boy's" hockey, telemark skiing, canoeing, camping and spending time with his children.

Amy Leventer's picture
Colgate University
Hamilton, NY
United States

Amy Leventer is a professor of geology at Colgate University, and teaches courses in oceanography, marine geology, environmental geology, paleoclimatology, climate change, and science and exploration. Her research is in the field of understanding climate change since the last glacial maximum with a focus on the paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic history of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Her specialty is micropaleontology and the study of fossil diatoms, algae with cell walls made of silica, which are especially well preserved in marine sediments around Antarctica. These data hold clues to the history of the presence or absence of sea ice and glacial ice, changes in oceanic productivity, and variations in oceanic circulation in the past. She has participated on over 20 research expeditions to Antarctica since 1983.

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Latest Comments

As speeds rose so did costs, and by going jungle heat hack apk to the metro in the capital of Brazil. It's okay because I'm here. As we fall in a typical sized black hole such as ours, the tidal...
Hi Glenn-I have also really enjoyed reading about your trip and always looked forward to your posts. Your webinar was fantastic and one of the things I took away from it was how much you have...
Hi Glenn. I can't believe that you are almost back to port and that you'll be able to be on land! It's a weird experience coming off a ship after so long and walking on firm ground. I was reading...
It has been an honor and a pleasure to be able to try to explain this experience. It has truly been a once I a life time opportunity for sure. I hope that I will be able to stay in contact with David...
I can't tell you how much we've enjoyed getting your blog posts by email, Glenn. It's been a great ride for us too (vicariously) and we can imagine what it's been like for David G as well there on...