GAMBIT: Gamburtsev Aerogeophysical Mapping of Bedrock and Ice Targets

Robin E. Bell

Using geophysical instruments, GAMBIT will peal back more than 600 meters of ice to explore the last hidden mountain range on Earth. In international partnership, scientists from Lamont will work with scientists from all over the United States as well as the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, China and Japan to study the formation of the mountains and the overlying ice sheet.

Virtually unexplored, the Gamburtsev Mountains represents the largest unstudied area of crustal uplift on earth and is believed to be the starting point for growth of the Antarctic ice sheets. . This project is an aerogeophysical study of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains, a Texas-sized mountain range buried beneath the ice sheets of East Antarctica. The project will complete a gravity, magnetics, and radar study to advance our understanding of the origin and evolution of the polar ice sheets and subglacial lakes; define the crustal architecture of East Antarctica, a key question in the earth's history; and locate the oldest ice in East Antarctica, which may ultimately help find ancient climate records. This project has been identified by the international Antarctic science community as a research focus for the International Polar Year (2007-2009). Major international partners in the project include Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, and Japan.