Hochstetter Lecture

2022 Hochstetter Lecturer

David Prior


Dave will deliver a talk entitled ‘The shear zones that hold back the ice sheets’, which will showcase the lateral thinking of using geophysical and geological methods to study the physics of ice, which is also highly relevant to our society as it informs ice sheet modelling and predictions for a warmer world.

This work will appeal to both professional scientists and the general public, and will include some entertaining examples of field work in Antarctica, the vital participation of students, and the need for scientific teamwork.

Details of Dave's Hochstetter Lecture tour can be found on the National and Regional Events page.

You can watch Dave's acceptance message here.

Brief Abstract

Most significant polar ice loss is through fast ice streams and outlet glaciers. The fast-flowing ice deforms by shear where it drags against rock, sediments and relatively static ice at the basal and lateral margins of the flow. These shear zones are a significant control on the rate of flow. Fast ice flow feeds large floating ice shelves and fossil shear zones dissect ice shelves and may influence their break-up. For these reasons predicting future sea level rise related to polar ice loss requires a better quantitative understanding of the shear zones at the margins of fast ice flow.

This talk will outline new work on three lateral shear margins; of the Priestley Glacier that feeds into the Nansen Ice Shelf, Antarctica, of the Whillans Ice stream that feeds the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica and of the Haupapa/Tasman Glacier in New Zealand.

Return to News and Events homepage