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Kathy Licht Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Earth Sciences
Geology Club Advisor
Ph.D., Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, 1999
M.S., Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, 1995
B.S., Natural Science, St. Norbert College, 1992
Previous Graduate Students:Andrea (Schilling) Hennessy - Science coordinator, Club Z! tutoringEmerson Palmer - Geologist, Noble EnergyKate Kramer - Lecturer, McHenry County CollegeJennifer (Sembach) Nelson - Lecturer, IUPUIJason Lederer - Director of Projects, The Charles River Conservancy
I regularly teach courses at the introductory level (Oceanography and Antarctic Geology), intermediate level (Principles of Sedimentation and Stratigraphy) and the graduate level (Glacial and Quaternary Geology).
Overall my research focuses on understanding the history of the Antarctic ice sheet so we can better understand what causes it to advance and retreat and how that fits in with the global climate system.
My most recently funded project investigates the compositional variation of tills across two concentric sequences of Pleistocene moraines located adjacent to the heads of East Antarctic outlet glaciers in the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM). The proposed work will allow us to assess till composition changes through time, set in a chronologic framework generated from cosmogenic exposure ages of boulders on prominent morainal ridges. Variations in till composition may indicate a change in ice flow direction or a change in the original source area’s composition, while the ages of the moraines provide a long-term terrestrial perspective on ice sheet dynamics. Both are vital for modeling experiments that aim to reconstruct the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and assess its role in the global climate system.
As such, the scientific objectives of the proposed work dovetail with an international effort strongly focused on studying and modeling Antarctic ice sheet history, in part because of its potential impact on global sea level rise. The variation of till compositions through time also allows for better down core interpretation of cores from the Ross Sea and the Southern Ocean. Additionally, till exposures at the head of some East Antarctic outlets have been shown to contain subglacial material derived from East Antarctic bedrock, providing a window through the ice with which to view East Antarctica’s inaccessible bedrock.
*Palmer, E.F., Licht, K.J., Swope, R.J., and Hemming, S.R., 2012. Nunatak moraines as a repository of what lies beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet, in Rasbury, E.T., Hemming, S.R., and Riggs, N.R., eds., Mineralogical and Geochemical Approaches to Provenance. Geological Society of America Special Paper 487, 97–104, doi:10.1130/2012.2487(05).
Goodge, J., Fanning, M., *Brecke, D., Licht, K., *Palmer, E., 2010. Continuation of the Laurentian Grenville province across the Ross Sea margin of Antarctica. Journal of Geology, v. 118, p. 601-619.
*Nelson, J.A., Licht, K., Yansa, C., and Filippelli, G., 2010. Climate-related cyclic deposition of carbonate and organic matter in Holocene lacustrine sediment, Lower Michigan, USA. Journal of Paleolimnology. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-009-9381-0
Farmer, G.L., Licht, K., Swope, R.J., and Andrews, J.T., 2006. Isotopic constraints on the provenance of fine-grained sediment in LGM till from the Ross Embayment, Antarctica. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v.249, p.90-107.
Licht, K.J., *Lederer, J.R., and Swope, R.J., 2005. Provenance of LGM Glacial Till (sand fraction) across the Ross Embayment, Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews, v.24, p.1499-1520.