Geological Mapping Update of Antarctica (GeoMap)


There are numerous, hard-copy, regional-scale geological maps that were developed last century. Many have been scanned, some have been georeferenced, but few are more than raster digital information.  For the most part, they are geologically reliable for defining bedrock geology (‘deep time’). Unfortunately they contain little representation of glacial geology, the maps have poor spatial reliability in the context of modern science (located by GPS), and the maps have not kept pace with the present focus on Antarctica’s role in climate change.   

Antarctica contains minimal geologic exposure when compared to overall area, but the rock and cover deposits contain a geomorphological and geological history of the waxing and waning of Antarctica’s ice sheets. Some relatively small areas have been represented by detailed local maps in journals, but there are no modern attribute-rich GIS datasets to provide holistic information at the scale of the ice sheets/ice shelves.  Meanwhile, large quantities of satellite data are being rapidly acquired at high-precision, offering the opportunity to accurately locate outcrops and derive compositional information at sub-metre resolution.

There is a growing need for a digital dataset to comprehensively define the exposed geosphere, for pinpointing the locations of glacial deposits, indicate their mode of formation, age, and likely source.  Such key underpinning information on the geosphere and its history can be used to constrain biological and ecological research, identify geoindicators of climate change, and help improve our understanding of Antarctica’s role in climate change.   

The Geological Mapping Update Action Group will facilitate an integrated programme from 2015-2018 to promote the capture of existing geological map data, update its spatial reliability, improve representation of glacial sequences and geomorphology, and enable data delivery via web-feature services. International representation is still being sought and interested parties should contact the group co-chairs.

What GeoMap does

acrobatTowards a digital dataset of the Antarctic geosphere - a Powerpoint presentation (7.1MB) on the SCAR GeoMap project, its work and the progress made in mapping the geosphere.

GeoMap Workshop

GeoMap held a workshop at the XII ISAES Meeting in July 2015 called "Towards improved geological maps of
Antarctic rocks and surficial deposits":