Oscar Fransner

The first time I was introduced to geosciences was in high school. The course was short but I was convinced that this was something for me, and decided to try a few courses in geosciences at Stockholm University, where I am born and raised. The interest grew and three years later I had a bachelor’s degree in marine geology, where my thesis was focused on paleoclimatology using sediment cores from the Kuchi Lake in southern Taiwan. I wanted more and continued with the masters program, still at Stockholm University but with some exchange studies at University Centre in Svalbard, where I really enjoyed my stay considering both the university life and the amazing nature.

During my masters degree I changed focus a bit. It was still marine geology but at this point I had became fascinated in geophysical mapping methods. My master’s thesis was therefore based on processing and interpretation of multibeam bathymetry – and acoustic sediment stratigraphy data. To go offshore and explore uncharted areas of the world quickly became my dream. I therefore started to look for positions both in the academia and in the industry already during my thesis.

One day a colleague came to me and told me about a PhD position in marine geology where I would be able to work with both sediment cores and geophysical methods. This sounded great to me, and when he then told me that the position was based on Svalbard and involved networking through GLANAM, I applied at once. This turned out successfully, and today I am working on a project called “Late Weichselian ice-sheet dynamics and deglaciation history of the northern Svalbard margin” as one of the GLANAM fellows.

Project Summary

The main scientific goal of this three-year long PhD project is to increase the understanding of the evolution of the northern Barents Sea continental margin, in particular the configuration and dynamics of the Late Weichselian ice sheet on the continental shelf off northern Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. This part of the Arctic is crucial for regional marine geological and paleoglaciological reconstructions since it is relatively unexplored. A better understanding of this area may therefore facilitate the understanding regarding how ice sheets react to climate change.

The scientific goal of this project is divided into two separate aims:

  1. To determine the role of different glacial / non-glacial sedimentary processes in shaping the glaciated continental margin of the northern Barents Sea;
  2. To contribute to the understanding of the extent, timing and rates of decay of marine-based ice-sheet in this region.

To reach the mentioned goals above, this project will focus on mapping and interpretation of submarine glacial landforms, which then are linked to the sediment stratigraphy of the study area. The sediment stratigraphy will therefore be significant in order to achieve the first aim mentioned above while the glacial landforms will be important for the second aim.

Data acquisition will take place on yearly summer / early fall cruises when problems with sea-ice are minimal. The data analysis will mainly take place at the university centre in Svalbard (UNIS), where the actual PhD candidate is based. Close cooperation with the GLANAM network will be important throughout the whole project.