Ice sheets terminating in marine environments and/or grounded below sea level are highly dynamic and sensitive portions of the cryosphere, and especially vulnerable to change. Processes occurring at the interface between the ice base and the substrate on which it rests are key to determining ice flow behaviour, and the stability of marine ice sheet margins is understood to be broadly governed by topography, sea level and sea temperature. However, the specific and local scale processes which govern ice flow and margin behaviour in a diverse range of marine settings can be highly variable, and their wider significance remains poorly understood. In the absence of methods to systematically study the active beds of modern ice sheets, the exposed beds of palaeo-ice sheets in formerly glaciated areas are an easily accessible means of studying past ice flow and ice sheet margin behaviour.
The ice sheets that expanded onto continental shelves in the Arctic and Antarctica left a record of their retreat dynamics in the form of glacial landforms preserved on the seafloor. We propose to combine high-resolution multibeam bathymetry datasets from both Antarctic and Arctic continental shelves to:
1. Characterize glacial landforms within the context of various ice-sheet settings
2. Identify processes contributing to retreat dynamics
3. Determine the fundamental importance of small-scale processes in governing the stability of marine ice sheet sectors.