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Smelly penguins, research await Oklahoma State University team in Antarctica

SUSAN SIMPSON Modified: August 8, 2009 at 12:09 am •  Published: August 8, 2009
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STILLWATER — An Oklahoma State University professor and two students will spend six weeks this spring braving Antarctic snow and wind to study sea level changes over the past 10,000 years.

Geology professor Alex Simms will choose two graduate students to help collect beach deposits that will be dated to shed light into how ice sheets respond to sea level and climate change. The project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

"We will be trying to determine how much ice was on Antarctica during the last ice age by determining how much the continent has rebounded from the melting of the ice,” he said.

Simms and two former students traveled in 2007 to the Antarctic coast to test rocks using a dating technique called optically stimulated luminescence. The technique was developed by OSU physics professor Regina DeWitt, who will help complete the research when Simms returns to campus.

For the upcoming trip, set to begin March 8, Simms and his team will fly to southern Chile, then board the Nathaniel B.