Elizabeth Pierce

Senior Staff Associate
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8155
Fields of interest: 
Sediment provenance, paleoclimate


My research applies geochronology and radiogenic isotopes in minerals and bulk sediments to constrain the subglacial geology of Antarctica and to apply this geological information to tagging paleo-iceberg discharges from the Antarctic Ice Sheet.  My primary approach is to use the 40Ar/39Ar age of detrital hornblende grains.  Hornblende is a relatively abundant, rock-forming mineral that records the last major tectono-thermal event in a region.  It has been previously demonstrated that hornblende ages provide a robust division of Antarctica that conforms to the natural glacial divides around the continent.  My work is a combination of more precise documentation of the geological history, and the application of the approach to the paleo-climate related changes in the Antarctic Ice sheet.


List of degrees from highest to lowest:
M.Phil. Earth and Environmental Sciences
Columbia University
M.A. Earth and Environmental Sciences
Columbia University
B.A. (Honors) Geosciences
Williams College
Honors & Awards: 
Climate Center Grants, 2009 & 2011
NSF GK-12 Teaching Grant (LEEFS) 2010-2011
Sarah Langer Book Prize 2009
Antarctic Service Medal
Advisor List: 
Selected Publications: 
Characterizing the sediment provenance of East Antarctica's weak underbelly: The Aurora and Wilkes sub-glacial basins, Pierce, E.L.; Williams T.; van de Flierdt, T.; Hemming, S.R.; Goldstein, S.L.; Brachfeld, S.A. , Paleoceanography, Volume 26, Issue PA4217, p.10.1029/2011PA002127, (2011)