Black Island (Ross Archipelago)

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Black Island
Black Island and Skidoos at Sunset.jpg
Black Island and Skidoos at sunset
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Black Island
Location in Antarctica
Location Antarctica
Coordinates 78°14′S166°20′E / 78.233°S 166.333°E / -78.233; 166.333 Coordinates: 78°14′S166°20′E / 78.233°S 166.333°E / -78.233; 166.333
Archipelago Ross Archipelago
Length12 mi (19 km)
Highest elevation1,041 m (3415 ft)
Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System

Black Island ( 78°14′S166°20′E / 78.233°S 166.333°E / -78.233; 166.333 ), in the Ross Archipelago, is immediately west of White Island. It was first named by the Discovery Expedition (1901–04) because of its lack of snow. [1] [2] The island's northernmost point is named Cape Hodgson, commemorating Thomas Vere Hodgson, one of the oldest members of the Discovery Expedition. [3]

The highest point is Mount Aurora, a principal radio relay point. [1] [4] Mt. Aurora was named between 1958-1959 for the Aurora, one of the ships on Shackleton's Expedition. [5] On the minor peak of Mount Melania [1] is the principal earth-based ground-station for the US Antarctic Program. [4]

Black Island is volcanic in origin, consisting of a series of trachytic lava domes and basaltic pyroclastic cones. [1] Potassium–argon dating of Black Island volcanic rocks has given ages ranging from 1.69 to 3.8 million years. [1] [6] There are three main geological formations representing three eruptive sequences on Black Island: Nubian Basalt Formation, Aurora Trachyte Formation, and Melania Basalt Formation. [1] The lack of snow is not due to volcanic activity but rather the fact that it is protected from wind by nearby Minna Bluff. [7]

A topographical map of the Mount Discovery area by the US Geological Survey. Black Island lies between 166-167degE and 78deg00'-78deg30'S. C78192s1 Ant.Map Mount Discovery.jpg
A topographical map of the Mount Discovery area by the US Geological Survey. Black Island lies between 166-167°E and 78°00′-78°30′S.

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