Maximilian Lowe is a PhD student working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) since October 2020. He joined BAS as part of the SENSE cdt (Centre for Satellite Data in Environmental Science – Centre for Doctoral Training) and is registered at the University of Edinburgh.
PhD project: Unveiling the 4D variability in the lithospheric cradle of the Antarctic ice sheet.
Project summary: Antarctica, especially the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, hosts the largest ice volume on the planet and therefore hold the largest potential to cause sea level rise. Geothermal Heat Flux (GHF) is a key parameter affecting ice sheet dynamics and subglacial hydrology. However, GHF is also the least constrained parameter due to the fact that less than 1% of Antarctic rocks are exposed at the surface and paucity of bedrock drilling.
Graining improved knowledge of the GHF heterogeneity is both crucial and timely, as GHF influences not only subglacial hydrology and consequently the ice sheet flow but is also important to understand Antarctica’s fundamental structure and tectono-thermal evolution since the start of Gondwana breakup 180 million years ago.
Recent geophysical GHF estimates based on single method approaches (e.g. from magnetic data, seismology or gravity data) show first order similarities but differ remarkable at a regional level.
During this PhD project I aim to develop new integrated geophysical approach to model GHF on a regional scale based on as many geophysical observables as possible and use sparse geological information as additional constraints.
I will exploit a combination of airborne radar and aeromagnetic data compilations, and crustal and lithospheric thickness estimates from both satellite and airborne gravity and independent passive seismic constraints, to develop new geophysical models which describe the crustal and lithospheric structure beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Those models will mark the starting point for thermal modelling. I will account for upper mantle GHF contribution and heat production within the crust.
I develop and test this new approach on the Wilkes Subglacial Basin region in East Antarctica and aim to apply this approach to four additional regions in Antarctica later. I anticipate that this project will provide new key insights into crustal and lithospheric structure beneath the Antarctic ice sheets, increase the understanding of heterogeneities in Antarctic crust and upper mantle, providing new geophysical estimates on subglacial GHF variability and novel views of the interplays between the cryosphere and underlying solid Earth.
- 11/2019 – 09/2020: Kiel University, Satellite and Aerogeophysics.
- 2020 – present PhD student, University of Edinburgh & British Antarctic Survey
- 2016 – 2019 Msc. Geophysics, University of Kiel
- 2013 – 2016 Bsc. Geosciences, University of Kiel
- Small IT grant, School of GeoSciences, The University of Edinburgh, £ 1000, March 2022.
- Gray-Milne Travel Bursary, British Geophysical Association, £ 500, September 2021.
- Covid-19 Support Fund, British Geophysical Association, £ 900, June 2021.
- Student conference travel support fund, Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft, 100 €, 2019.
- Geothermal heat flux in Antarctica
- 3D Lithospheric modelling with satellite and airborne gravity & magnetic data
- Lithosphere-cryosphere interactions
- Probabilistic modelling and inversion
- Glacial isostatic adjustment
- Subglacial topography and geological boundary conditions for ice sheets
- Lowe, M., Ebbing, J., El-Sharkawy, A. and Meier, T.: Gravity effect of Alpine slab segments based on geophysical and petrological modelling, Solid Earth, 12, 691–711, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-12-691-2021, 2021.
Talks (first author only)
- Lowe, M., Mather, B., Green, C., Jordan, T., Ebbing, J. and Larter, R.: Hot Mountains in Antarctica, The British Geophysical Association (BGA) Postgraduate Research in Progress (PGRiP), Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2022. Slides.
- Lowe, M., Mather, B., Green, C., Jordan, T., Ebbing, J. and Larter, R.: Elevated heat flow beneath the northern Transantarctic Mountains imaged by spectral analyses of high-resolution aeromagnetic measurements, SCAR Open Science Conference (digital), 2022. Slides.
- Lowe, M., Green, C., Jordan, T., Ebbing, J. and Larter, R.: Geothermal heat flux in Wilkes Subglacial Basin and Transantarctic Mountains, Working group: Satellite and Aerogeophysics, Kiel University, 2022.
- Lowe, M., Green, C., Jordan, T., Ebbing, J., Goldberg, D. and Larter, R.: Unveiling lithosphere heterogeneity and thermal structures beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, Postgraduate Research Conference, School of GeoScience, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, digital, 2021.
- Lowe, M., Ebbing J., El-Sharkawy A. and Meier T., From seismological imaging to geophysical and petrological modelling of the subducting lithosphere in the Alpine region, DGG General Assembly, Germany, digital, 2020.
- Lowe, M., Sudhaus, H. and Ebbing, J.: Searching regional slow ground motion using velocities of German SAPOS stations, Arbeitskreis Geodäsie/Geophysik, Zugspitze, Germany, 2018
- Lowe, M., Sudhaus, H. and Ebbing, J.: Searching regional slow ground motion using velocities of German SAPOS stations, Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, 2018
Poster (first author only)
- Lowe, M., Green, C., Mather, B., Jordan, T., Ebbing, J. and Larter, R.: Geothermal heat flow beneath the Transantarctic Mountains and Wilkes Subglacial Basin, Living Planet Symposium, Bonn, Germany, May 2022. Poster.
- Lowe, M., Ferraccioli, F., Later, R., Green, C., Goldberg, D. and Ebbing, J.: Estimating geothermal heat flow in Antarctica based on integrated geophysical modelling, BAS Student Symposium, Cambridge, United Kingdom, October 2021. Poster.
- Lowe, M., Ferraccioli, F., Young, D., Blankenship, D., Armadillo, E., Siegert, M. and Ebbing, J.: Unveiling lithosphere heterogeneity beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, EGU General Assembly, digital, 2021. Poster.
- Lowe M., Ferraccioli F., Armadillo E., Young D. A., Blankenship D. D., Siegert M. J. and Ebbing J. – New study targets modelling crust and lithosphere heterogeneity in the Wilkes Subglacial Basin of East Antarctica, AGU General Assembly, digital, 2020. Poster.
- Lowe M., Ebbing J., El-Sharkawy A. and Meier T. – Gravity effect of Alpine slab segments based on geophysical and petrological modelling, EGU General Assembly, digital, 2020. Poster.
- Lowe M., Ebbing J., Szwillus W., Spooner C., El-Sharkawy A. and Meier T. – Testing the Alpine slab hypotheses with gravity data, AlpArray & SPP 4DMB Scientific Meeting, Frankfurt (Main), Germany, 2019. Poster.
- Lowe M., Ebbing J., El-Sharkawy A. and Meier T. – Sensitivity study on separation of crustal and mantle contribution to the Alpine gravity Field, DGG General Assembly, Braunschweig, Germany, 2019. Poster.
Publications from NERC Open Research Archive
Lowe, Maximilian ORCID record for Maximilian Lowe, Ebbing, Jörg, El-Sharkawy, Amr, Meier, Thomas. (2021) Gravity effect of Alpine slab segments based on geophysical and petrological modelling. Solid Earth, 12. 691-711. 10.5194/se-12-691-2021