Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Atmosphere, Oceans, and Climate

OCT 2011 - Topographic evolution in glacial landscape of Fiordland, NZ

In a report published in the April 1, 2011 issue of Science, EPS faculty members David Shuster, Kurt Cuffey (also Dept. of Geography), former EPS graduate student Johnny Sanders, and Greg Balco of the Berkeley Geochronology Center, used apatite (U-Th)/He and 4He/3He thermochronometry to investigate topographic evolution in the archetypal glacial landscape of Fiordland, New Zealand. They found that the topography near Milford Sound was clearly not in steady state over the last 2 million years, while erosion removed the entire pre-Pleistocene landscape. Their data are best explained by up-valley propagation of erosion through the glacier-carved landscape during this time. This scenario is consistent with a subglacial erosion rate dependent on ice sliding velocity, but not ice discharge. Read Press Release from UC Berkeley at http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/03/31/novel-technique-reveals-how-glaciers-sculpted-their-valleys/ Read the full report at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6025/84.full