Exploring the Subsurface Processes of Ice Sheets and Icy Moons with Ice Penetrating Radar

Dustin Schroeder (Stanford University)

Mar 29, 2023
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | Geological Museum, 102 - Haller Hall | Remote option

Radio echo sounding is a uniquely powerful geophysical technique for studying the interior of ice sheets, glaciers, and icy planetary bodies. It can provide broad coverage and deep penetration as well as interpretable ice thickness, basal topography, and englacial radio stratigraphy. However, despite the long tradition of glaciological interpretation of radar images, quantitative analyses of radar sounding data are rare and face several technical challenges. These include attenuation uncertainty from unknown ice temperature and chemistry, clutter and losses from surface and volume scattering, and a lack of problem-specific radar theory. However, there is rich, often underexploited, information in modern radar sounding data, which is being collected over terrestrial and planetary ice at an unprecedented rate.  The development and application of hypothesis-driven analysis approaches for these data can place observational constraints on the morphologic, hydrologic, geologic, mechanical, thermal, and oceanographic configurations of ice sheets and glaciers. These boundary conditions – and the physical processes which they express and control – are filling a fundamental gap our ability to understand the evolution of both marine ice sheets and icy moons.

Speaker Bio

Dustin Schroeder is an Associate Professor of Geophysics and of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, a Senior Fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and a Senior Member with the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. His research primarily focuses on observing and understanding the role of continental ice sheets and their contribution to the rate of sea level rise. A growing secondary focus of his work is the subsurface exploration of icy moons. He also works on the development, use, and analysis of geophysical radar remote sensing systems that are optimized to observe hypothesis-specific phenomena. His research group aspires to approach problems from both an earth system science and radar system engineering perspective. He is a science team member with the REASON instrument and co-chairs the Interior Working Group on NASA’s Europa Clipper Mission. He is also the Chair of the Earth and Space Sciences Committee for the National Science Olympiad and is a Faculty Director with Stanford’s new first-year Civic, Liberal, and Global Education (COLLEGE) program.


Douglas Woodhouse