Geophysical Habitat of Subglacial Thwaites (GHOST)
GHOST is an ice- and modeling-based project that will examine the bed and interior of Thwaites Glacier. The rheology and topography of the bed affect how quickly Thwaites retreats and contributes to sea-level rise: it could rapidly collapse, or retreat might slow or pause on a subglacial ridge (GHOST Ridge) 70 kilometers inland of the current grounding line. This study will also investigate whether the region of fast-flowing ice could expand into currently slow-flowing regions. Expansion could lead to rapid deglaciation of neighboring basins, potentially raising global sea level by more than 3 meters.
The team comprises geophysicists and modelers working closely to determine the highest priority survey targets and data needs from the field. The team will use active and passive seismic, radar, and other geophysical methods (e.g., magnetotellurics, gravity, GPS, ApRES) to survey and map Thwaites Glacier’s internal stratigraphy and bed. These field data will be integrated into models to determine controlling interactions between glacier and bed, thereby improving projections of Thwaites’ evolution and its potential contribution to global sea level rise.