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Division of Polar Programs

Antarctic Earth Sciences Program

Name Email Phone Room
Mark  Kurz (703) 292-7431   
Thomas  Wilch (703) 292-8033   


16-541  Program Solicitation

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 30, 2017. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 17-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Antarctica is a dynamic and diverse continent with mountains, volcanoes, deserts, fossils, and some of the Earth's most ancient crust. The continental shelves and ocean basins surrounding Antarctica record ice-sheet histories as well as unique geodynamic processes and other geologic phenomena. Much of this geology is hidden beneath thick ice sheets or beneath the sea; therefore, innovative approaches are needed to decipher its history. Projects supported by the Antarctic Earth Sciences (AES) Program provide insights into Antarctica's rich history and lead to increased understanding of the processes that shape it today.

AES encourages and supports field, laboratory, and theoretical work in both terrestrial and marine settings in the fields of geology, geophysics, and other areas of earth sciences.

Emphasis areas include but are not limited to:

  • Understanding the evolution of Antarctic ice sheets using sediment records from continental margins to reconstruct their history and determine the geologic controls of their formation and stability;

  • Deciphering paleoenvironmental and paleobiological records to understand global climate, ocean circulation, and the evolution of life;
  • Exploring Antarctica's tectonic evolution, from its central role in Gondwana's breakup to the present-day deformation driving volcanism, rifting, and orogenesis; and

  • Investigating unique processes, such as the formation of subglacial lakes or the aeolian and permafrost sculpting of the Dry Valleys.

The program also strongly encourages work on existing samples and data. Proposers should investigate availability from individual researchers and repositories such as:




UNAVCO: GNSS Support to the National Science Foundation, OPP/Antarctic Program, 2006-2007 season (A report on support for scientific applications of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems)

U.S. Antarctic Resource Center, U.S. Geological Survey

Antarctic Research Facility, Florida State University -- -a national repository for geological materials collected in polar regions.

United States Polar Rock Repository, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University

Antarctic Multibeam Synthesis Data Portal--Marine Geoscience Data Management System

Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET)


What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program