Martin Siegert

  • Co-Director, Grantham Institute - Imperial College London

Research interests

My research interests are within the broad fields of Geophysics, Glaciology and Quaternary Science. I have published regularly in leading international journals, have given numerous invited lectures and plenaries, and have appeared often in international newspapers, TV and radio.

I lead two areas of research as follows, which have given me a noticeable international profile.

Direct Measurement and Sampling of Antarctic subglacial lakes

I am the Principal Investigator, and Programme Chair, of the UK Subglacial Lake Ellsworth exploration programme, a NERC consortium involving over 30 scientists from nine UK universities and research institutes. This programme aims to directly measure and sample Subglacial Lake Ellsworth to identify life in this extreme environment and acquire records of ice and climate change. The first attempt to access the lake was unsuccessful in 2012/13; plans are currently being developed in collaboration with Chilean colleagues for modifications to the experiment and a second field season.

Geophysical measurement of large ice sheets

I am the UK PI on a UK-US-Australian-French programme named ICECAP, which has acquired over 140,000km of geophysical flight data in East Antarctica in the last four seasons, revealing evidence of former significant ice-sheet oscillations. In 2016, ICECAP-2 was developed by including China into the programme, resulting in a major new airborne geophysics survey of the last unexplored portion of East Antarctica, revealing the world’s largest canyon and the second largest subglacial lake in Antarctica.

I am also the PI on a NERC-funded programme, in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey and four other UK universities, which acquired over 40,000km of geophysical data in a previously unexplored part of West Antarctica, revealing a major new deep subglacial basin at the edge of the ice sheet. In addition, I was involved in the recent discoveries of hydrological channels and pre-glacial fluvial landscapes beneath the central Greenland ice sheet.

Funding has recently been awarded by NERC for a multi-institutional UK-led campaign to identify groundwater in Antarctica and, if it is present, to understand how it influences the flow of ice above.