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Magnetotelluric Analysis for Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution (MAGPIE)

The MAGPIE research project is an international and interdisciplinary research collaboration to investigate glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) processes in Greenland. Our goal is to improve estimates for current and past melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Image logo of MAGPIE.

Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet has accelerated during the past decade due to climate warming. This melting is now considered a major contributor to global sea level rise, and a serious threat to future coastlines. Thus, it is vital that we accurately monitor the patterns and volumes of melting. Currently ice loss is monitored by measuring gravity and ground height, which change as the ice melts. However, movements of the solid Earth beneath the ice also affect these measurements. Beneath Greenland, the solid Earth is moving as the weight of the melting ice is lifted off, in a process called glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA).

A panorama of the Russell glacier in western Greenland. This glacier is a fast moving outflow glacier from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Photo: MAGPIE

The deformation caused by GIA processes can be very slow, so the Earth is still responding to melting that happened when the ice ages ended several thousand years ago.

The rate of GIA depends critically on how easily mantle rocks flow – their viscosity. Viscosity is poorly constrained beneath Greenland and is likely to be complex. This uncertainty in viscosity leads to uncertainties in ice loss measurements.

Objectives

MAGPIE seeks to improve estimates for loss of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet to sea, by:

  • carrying out the first ever magnetotelluric (MT) survey of the Greenland Ice Sheet,
  • constraining lateral viscosity variations in the mantle beneath Greenland using MT data,
  • developing 3D numerical models of glacial isostatic adfustment (GIA) in Greenland that include lateral variations in mantle viscosity,
  • remove deformation caused by postglacial rebound from geodetic observations to constrain patterns and amplitudes of modern-day ice mass loss in Greenland.

Outcomes

With this project we seek to develop new constraints on rock viscosity beneath Greenland by collecting geophysical data on the ice sheet. The magnetotelluric (MT) data image the Earth's electrical conductivity, which is sensitive to the temperature and water content of mantle rocks. Because these factors also control mantle viscosity, we can use MT data to map viscosity variations beneath Greenland. These data are also sensitive to subglacial melt, which will enable us to detect extra heat added beneath Greenland by the Iceland Plume.

We will develop a new numerical modelling technique for GIA that can accommodate large viscosity variations. The code will be useful to study GIA problems worldwide, but we will use it to predict GIA uplift patterns associated with the viscosity variations beneath Greenland. We will then use these much-improved GIA models to produce more accurate estimates for modern-day ice loss in Greenland.

More Information

Please see our MAGPIE blog at: magpiegreenland.wordpress.com

Financing

Norwegian title of the project is: Magnetotellurisk Analyse for Grønland og Postglasial Isostatisk Evolusjon (MAGPIE). The Norwegian Research Council finances the project through the FRINATEK-program. The NFR-project number is 288449. 

The MAGPIE project runs from 2019, and with an end in 2023.

Cooperation

The project is a collaboration between researchers from different institutes:

Publications

  • Marcilly, Chloe M.; Torsvik, Trond Helge & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2022). Global Phanerozoic sea levels from paleogeographic flooding maps. Gondwana Research. ISSN 1342-937X. 110, p. 128–142. doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2022.05.011. Full text in Research Archive
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips & Naliboff, John B. (2022). Solid Earth Uplift Due To Contemporary Ice Melt Above Low-Viscosity Regions of the Upper Mantle. Geophysical Research Letters. ISSN 0094-8276. 49(17). doi: 10.1029/2022GL099731. Full text in Research Archive
  • Ramirez, Florence Dela Cruz; Selway, Katherine; Conrad, Clinton Phillips & Lithgow-Bertelloni, C. (2022). Constraining Upper Mantle Viscosity Using Temperature and Water Content Inferred From Seismic and Magnetotelluric Data. Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Solid Earth. ISSN 2169-9313. 127(8). doi: 10.1029/2021JB023824. Full text in Research Archive
  • Heyn, Björn Holger & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2022). On the Relation Between Basal Erosion of the Lithosphere and Surface Heat Flux for Continental Plume Tracks . Geophysical Research Letters. ISSN 0094-8276. 49(7). doi: 10.1029/2022GL098003. Full text in Research Archive
  • Sames, Benjamin; Wagreich, Michael; Conrad, Clinton Phillips & Iqbal, S. (2020). Aquifer-eustasy as the main driver of short-term sea-level fluctuations during Cretaceous hothouse climate phases. Geological Society Special Publication. ISSN 0305-8719. 498, p. 9–38. doi: 10.1144/SP498-2019-105. Full text in Research Archive
  • Hartmann, Robert; Ebbing, Jörg & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). A Multiple 1D Earth Approach (M1DEA) to account for lateral viscosity variations in solutions of the sea level equation: An application for glacial isostatic adjustment by Antarctic deglaciation. Journal of Geodynamics. ISSN 0264-3707. 135. doi: 10.1016/j.jog.2020.101695. Full text in Research Archive
  • Smith-Johnsen, Silje; de Fleurian, Basile; Schlegel, Nicole; Seroussi, Hélène & Nisancioglu, Kerim Hestnes (2020). Exceptionally high heat flux needed to sustain the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. The Cryosphere. ISSN 1994-0416. 14, p. 841–854. doi: 10.5194/tc-14-841-2020.

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  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Hollyday, A.; Austermann, J. & Gassmöller, R. (2021). Extending the open-source code ASPECT to solve the sea level equation on a heterogeneous Earth.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2021). Sea Level and the Solid Earth.
  • Heyn, Björn Holger & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2021). Plume-induced heat flux anomalies and the associated thinning of the continental lithosphere.
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Reusen, J.M.; Steffen, R. & Naliboff, J. (2021). Solid earth uplift due to contemporary ice melting above low-viscosity regions of Greenland’s upper mantle.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2021). Global Mantle Flow Patterns and the Time Dependence Dynamic Topography at Earth’s Surface and CMB.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2021). Earth’s History of Changing Sea Level: Billions of Years to Decades .
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2021). Tectonic Reconstructions of Past Sea Level, Dynamic Topography and the Deep Water Cycle .
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate; Naliboff, John & Gassmöller, Rene (2020). Developing a 3D glacial isostatic adjustment modeling code using ASPECT.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Korona­krisen vinge­klippet UiO-forskere. [Newspaper]. Universitas.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Sea Level and the Solid Earth, Interacting Across Timescales.
  • Ramirez, Florence; Selway, Kate & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Integrating magnetotelluric and seismic geophysical observations to improve upper mantle viscosity estimates beneath polar regions.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate; Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Smith-Johnsen, Silje; Nisancioglu, Kerim Hestnes & Karlsson, Nanna B (2020). Magnetotelluric Constraints on Upper Mantle Viscosity Structure and Basal Melt Beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Naliboff, John & Selway, Kate (2020). Developing an open-source 3D glacial isostatic adjustment modeling code using ASPECT.
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Gassmöller, Rene; Naliboff, John & Selway, Kate (2020). An Open-source 3D Glacial Isostatic Adjustment Modeling Code using ASPECT.
  • Hartmann, Robert; Ebbing, Jörg & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). RFBupdate_for_SELEN.
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate & Ramirez, Florence (2020). Magnetotelluric Analysis for Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution (MAGPIE).
  • Ramirez, Florence; Selway, Kate & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Using magnetotelluric and seismic geophysical observations to infer viscosity for Glacial Isostatic Adjustment calculations.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Earth's History of Changing Sea Level.
  • Selway, Kate; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Ramirez, Florence & Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria (2020). How can geophysical imaging help constrain mantle viscosity to improve glacial isostatic adjustment models?
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate; Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Smith-Johnsen, Silje; Nisancioglu, Kerim Hestnes & Karlsson, Nanna B (2020). Magnetotelluric Constraints on Upper Mantle Viscosity Structure and Basal Melt Beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.
  • Hartmann, Robert; Ebbing, Jörg & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). A Multiple 1D Earth Approach (M1DEA) to account for lateral viscosity variations in solutions of the sea level equation: An application for glacial isostatic adjustment by Antarctic deglaciation.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Slowdown in plate tectonics may have led to Earth’s ice sheets. [Journal]. Science.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Pris til UiO-professor . [Internet]. geoforskning.no.
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips & Selway, Kate (2020). Developing an open-source 3D glacial isostatic adjustment modeling code using ASPECT.
  • Ramirez, Florence; Selway, Kate & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Relationship between magnetotelluric and seismic geophysical observations and mantle viscosity.
  • Heyn, Björn Holger; Conrad, Clinton Phillips & Selway, Kate (2020). Numerical constraints on heat flux variations and lithospheric thinning associated with passage of the Iceland plume beneath Greenland.
  • Selway, Kate; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Ramirez, Florence; Karlsson, Nanna B; Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria & Heyn, Björn Holger (2020). How magnetotellurics can aid cryosphere studies: mantle rheology, GIA, surface heat flow, and basal melting.
  • Gaina, Carmen; Barletta, V.; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Ebbing, Jörg; Forsberg, R. & Ferraccioli, Fausto [Show all 9 contributors for this article] (2020). Interplay of cryosphere, solid earth and dynamic mantle in the Arctic.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2020). Forsker på geodynamikk – Clint Conrad har fått Evgueni Burov Medal. [Internet]. Titan.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2019). The MAGPIE Blog. [Internet]. https://magpiegreenland.wordpress.com/.
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate & Ramirez, Florence (2019). Magnetotelluric Analysis for Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution (MAGPIE).
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate & Ramirez, Florence (2019). Magnetotelluric Analysis for Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution (MAGPIE).
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate & Ramirez, Florence (2019). Magnetotelluric Analysis for Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution (MAGPIE).
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate; Weerdesteijn, Maaike Francine Maria; Smith-Johnsen, Silje; Nisancioglu, Kerim Hestnes & Karlsson, Nanna B (2019). Magnetotelluric Constraints on Upper Mantle Viscosity Structure and Basal Melt Beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2019). Sea level and the Solid Earth.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate; Weerdesteijn, Maaike; Smith-Johnsen, Silje; Nisancioglu, Kerim Hestnes & Karlsson, Nanna B (2019). Magnetotelluric constraints on upper mantle viscosity structure and basal melt beneath the Greenland ice sheet.
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike; Selway, Kate & Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2019). Magnetotelluric Analysis for Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution (MAGPIE).
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips (2019). Arctic Deglaciation and its Connection to the Deep Earth.
  • Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate; Weerdesteijn, Maaike & Smith-Johnsen, Silje (2019). Magnetotelluric Analysis for Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution (MAGPIE).
  • Weerdesteijn, Maaike; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Selway, Kate & Ramirez, Florence (2019). MAGPIE: Magnetotelluric Analysis for Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution.
  • Selway, Kate; Conrad, Clinton Phillips; Nisancioglu, Kerim Hestnes; Karlsson, Nanna B & Steinberger, Bernhard (2019). The MAGPIE Project: Magnetotelluric Analysis of Greenland and Postglacial Isostatic Evolution .
  • Nisancioglu, Kerim Hestnes (2019). Greenland and Nordic Seas/Arctic Variability.
  • Hopper, John R.; Fatah, Rader Abdul; Gaina, Carmen; Geissler, Wolfram H; Funck, Thomas & Kimbell, Geoffrey S [Show all 7 contributors for this article] (2019). Sediment thickness, crustal thickness, and residual topography of the North Atlantic: estimating dynamic topography around Iceland.

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Published June 24, 2019 9:42 AM - Last modified Sep. 16, 2022 1:12 PM