Radiocarbon ages are also extensively used from marine sediment cores around the margins of ice sheets, such as the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet.

Transitional Glaciomarine Sediments, those glaciomarine sediments laid down immediately after ice sheet recession and that overlie subglacial tills, provide a minimum age for ice-sheet extent at the core’s position; the ice margin was at this position before the radiocarbon age.

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| The past is the key to the future | How do we reconstruct past ice-sheet change? | Further Reading | Comments | Glacial geologists love to go out into the field, collecting rock samples and bags of gravel. It’s also clear that air temperatures are increasing, ocean currents are penetrating deeper onto the Antarctic continental shelf, and precipitation patters are changing.

They spend hours mapping a single moraine in detail. What does this mean for our mountain glaciers and ice sheets?

This will enable us to predict how they will respond to change in the future, and this will mean that we can give more precise and accurate estimates of future sea level rise.

Fortunately, we have many tools at our disposal to reconstruct past ice sheets.

Radiocarbon dating is an essential part of the glacial geologists’ toolkit. One example of an application may be for a lake dammed by a moraine.

A radiocarbon age from the base of the sediment core gives a minimum age for moraine formation; the moraine must be older than the radiocarbon age.Cosmogenic nuclide dating is extensively used to date the formation of moraines and the speed of glacier recession.This technique gives an exposure age, that is, the time since the boulder was exposed at the Earth’s surface.They can use equations that predict ice thickness by assuming a certain surface slope to reach a certain extent.And they can use measurements of the Earth’s isostatic rebound to calculate the past volume of ice.Looking at sediments and landforms together as a whole allows glacial geologists to reconstruct a Glacial Landsystem that they can use to understand the style of glaciation and take a broader view of processes and external influences.