Ross Island

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Ross Island
Ross Island Map USGS 250k.png
Map of Ross Island
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Ross Island
Geography
Location Antarctica
Coordinates 77°30′S168°00′E / 77.500°S 168.000°E / -77.500; 168.000 Coordinates: 77°30′S168°00′E / 77.500°S 168.000°E / -77.500; 168.000
Archipelago Ross Archipelago
Area2,460 km2 (950 sq mi)
Highest elevation3,794 m (12448 ft)
Highest point Mount Erebus
Administration
Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System
Demographics
PopulationAt least 100

Ross Island is an island formed by four volcanoes in the Ross Sea near the continent of Antarctica, off the coast of Victoria Land in McMurdo Sound. Ross Island lies within the boundaries of Ross Dependency, an area of Antarctica claimed by New Zealand.

Contents

History

Discovery

Sir James Ross discovered it in 1840, and it was later named in honour of him by Robert F. Scott.

Ross Island was the base for many of the early expeditions to Antarctica. It is the southernmost island reachable by sea. Huts built by Scott's and Shackleton's expeditions are still standing on the island, preserved as historical sites.

Today Ross Island is home to New Zealand's Scott Base, and the largest Antarctic settlement, the U.S. Antarctic Program's McMurdo Station. Greenpeace established World Park Base on the island and ran it for five years, from 1987 to 1992.

Geography

South end of Ross Island South End of Ross Island.jpg
South end of Ross Island

Because of the persistent presence of the ice sheet, the island is sometimes taken to be part of the Antarctic mainland. Its area is 2,460 square kilometres (950 sq mi); only a small portion of the island is free of ice and snow.

The planet's southernmost active volcano, Erebus (3,794 m or 12,448 ft), as well as the dormant volcano Terror (3,230 m or 10,597 ft), are situated on the island. They were named by Captain James Ross after his ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. The third highest elevation is Mount Bird, with Shell Glacier and Endeavour Piedmont Glacier on its slopes. Abbott Peak stands between Mount Erebus and Mount Bird. Gamble Cone and Kyle Cone stand in the east of the island. [1] Beeby Peak is 4.4 kilometres (2+38 nautical miles) east-northeast of the summit of Mount Bird.

Despite its relatively small size, Ross Island is the world's 6th highest island and the highest island in Antarctica. It has the highest average elevation of any island.[ citation needed ]

Landmarks

Many features on or near Ross Island have been charted and named by various survey and exploration groups.

Mount Erebus is the island's most prominent landmark. Hut Point Peninsula, the site of McMurdo Station (US) and Scott Base (New Zealand), projects southwest from its lower slopes. Barne Glacier projects off its western slopes. To the north of Mount Terror are the Kienle Nunataks.

The far eastern point of the island is called Cape Crozier. On the west side of the island is rocky Cape Evans, which forms the north side of Erebus Bay.

See also

Related Research Articles

Ross Dependency New Zealands territorial claim in Antarctica

The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. It is claimed by New Zealand. Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article IV of which states: "No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica", most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica.

Mount Erebus Volcano on Ross Island, Antarctica

Mount Erebus is an active volcano, the second-highest in Antarctica and the southernmost active volcano on Earth. It is the sixth-highest ultra mountain on the continent. With a summit elevation of 3,794 metres (12,448 ft), it is located in the Ross Dependency on Ross Island, which is also home to three inactive volcanoes: Mount Terror, Mount Bird, and Mount Terra Nova.

McMurdo Station American Antarctic base

McMurdo Station is a United States Antarctic research station on the south tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand–claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National Science Foundation. The station is the largest community in Antarctica, capable of supporting up to 1,258 residents, and serves as one of three year-round United States Antarctic science facilities. All personnel and cargo going to or coming from Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station first pass through McMurdo. By road, McMurdo is 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from New Zealand's smaller Scott Base.

Scott Base Antarctic base

Scott Base is a New Zealand Antarctic research station at Pram Point on Ross Island near Mount Erebus in New Zealand's Ross Dependency territorial claim. It was named in honour of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, RN, leader of two British expeditions to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica. The base was set up as support to field research and the centre for research into earth sciences, and now conducts research in many fields, operated by Antarctica New Zealand.

Mount Terror (Antarctica) Shield volcano in Antarctica

Mount Terror is a large shield volcano that forms the eastern part of Ross Island, Antarctica. It has numerous cinder cones and domes on the flanks of the shield and is mostly under snow and ice. It is the second largest of the four volcanoes which make up Ross Island and is somewhat overshadowed by its neighbour, Mount Erebus, 30 km (19 mi) to the west. Mount Terror was named in 1841 by Sir James Clark Ross for his second ship, HMS Terror. The captain of Terror was Francis Crozier, a close friend of Ross for whom the nearby Cape Crozier is named.

HMS <i>Erebus</i> (1826) Hecla-class bomb vessel best known for Antarctic and Arctic exploration

HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel constructed by the Royal Navy in Pembroke dockyard, Wales, in 1826. The vessel was the second in the Royal Navy named after Erebus, the dark region of Hades in Greek mythology.

McMurdo Sound Geographic location

McMurdo Sound is a sound in Antarctica. The sound, which extends about 55 kilometres long and wide, connects to the Ross Sea to the north, and to the Ross Ice Shelf cavity to the south via Haskell Strait. The strait is largely covered by the McMurdo Ice Shelf. The Royal Society Range rises from sea level to 4,205 metres on the western shoreline. Ross Island, an historic jumping-off point for polar explorers, designates the eastern boundary. The active volcano Mount Erebus at 3,794 metres dominates Ross Island. Antarctica's's largest scientific base, the United States' McMurdo Station, as well as the New Zealand Scott Base are on the southern shore of the island. Less than 10 percent of McMurdo Sound's shoreline is free of ice. It is the southernmost navigable body of water in the world.

Royal Society Range Mountain range in Antarctica

The Royal Society Range is a mountain range in Victoria Land, Antarctica. With its summit at 4,025 metres (13,205 ft), the massive Mount Lister forms the highest point in this range. Mount Lister is located along the western shore of McMurdo Sound between the Koettlitz, Skelton and Ferrar glaciers. Other notable local terrain features include Allison Glacier, which descends from the west slopes of the Royal Society Range into Skelton Glacier.

United States Antarctic Program U.S. Government agency which maintains U.S. presence and research in Antarctica

The United States Antarctic Program is an organization of the United States government which has presence in the Antarctica continent. Founded in 1959, the USAP manages all U.S. scientific research and related logistics in Antarctica as well as aboard ships in the Southern Ocean.

This is a list of extreme points in Antarctica.

Mount Melbourne Volcano in Antarctica

Mount Melbourne is a 2,733-metre-high (8,967 ft) ice-covered stratovolcano in Victoria Land, Antarctica, between Wood Bay and Terra Nova Bay. It is an elongated mountain with a summit caldera filled with ice with numerous parasitic vents; a volcanic field surrounds the edifice. Mount Melbourne has a volume of about 180 cubic kilometres (43 cu mi) and consists of tephra deposits and lava flows; tephra deposits are also found encased within ice and have been used to date the last eruption of Mount Melbourne to 1892 ± 30 CE. The volcano is fumarolically inactive.

Mount Morning Volcano in Victoria Land, Antarctica

Mount Morning is a shield volcano at the foot of the Transantarctic Mountains in Victoria Land, Antarctica. It lies 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Ross Island. Mount Morning rises to an elevation of 2,723 metres (8,934 ft) and is almost entirely mantled with snow and ice. A 4.1 by 4.9 kilometres wide summit caldera lies at the top of the volcano and several ice-free ridges such as Hurricane Ridge and Riviera Ridge emanate from the summit. A number of parasitic vents mainly in the form of cinder cones dot the mountain.

Beaufort Island

Beaufort Island is an island in Antarctica's Ross Sea. It is the northernmost feature of the Ross Archipelago, lying 21 kilometres north of Cape Bird, Ross Island. It is approximately 18.4 km2 in area. It was first charted by James Clark Ross in 1841. Ross named the island for Sir Francis Beaufort, hydrographer to the British Royal Navy.

Hut Point Peninsula Landform on Ross Island, Antarctica

Hut Point Peninsula is a long, narrow peninsula from 3 to 5 km wide and 24 km (15 mi) long, projecting south-west from the slopes of Mount Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica. McMurdo Station (US) and Scott Base (NZ) are Antarctic research stations located on the Hut Point Peninsula.

Erebus Ice Tongue

The Erebus Ice Tongue is a mountain outlet glacier and the seaward extension of Erebus Glacier from Ross Island. It projects 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) into McMurdo Sound from the Ross Island coastline near Cape Evans, Antarctica. The glacier tongue varies in thickness from 50 metres (160 ft) at the snout to 300 metres (980 ft) at the point where it is grounded on the shoreline. Explorers from Robert F. Scott's Discovery Expedition (1901–1904) named and charted the ice tongue.

Cape Crozier Headland of Antarctica

Cape Crozier is the most easterly point of Ross Island in Antarctica. It was discovered in 1841 during James Clark Ross's expedition of 1839 to 1843 with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and was named after Francis Crozier, captain of HMS Terror. The extinct volcano Mount Terror, also named during the Ross expedition, rises sharply from the Cape to a height of 3,230 m (10,600 ft), and the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf stretches away to its east.

Tourism in Antarctica Tourism in Antarctica

Tourism in Antarctica started by the sea in the 1960s. Air overflights of Antarctica started in the 1970s with sightseeing flights by airliners from Australia and New Zealand, and were resumed in the 1990s. The (summer) tour season lasts from November to March. Most of the estimated 14,762 visitors to Antarctica from 1999–2000 were on sea cruises. During the 2009 to 2010 tourist season, over 37,000 people visited Antarctica.

Ross expedition 1839–43 British Antarctic exploration mission

The Ross expedition was a voyage of scientific exploration of the Antarctic in 1839 to 1843, led by James Clark Ross, with two unusually strong warships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. It explored what is now called the Ross Sea and discovered the Ross Ice Shelf. On the expedition, Ross discovered the Transantarctic Mountains and the volcanoes Erebus and Terror, named after his ships. The young botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker made his name on the expedition.

Timothy Haskell New Zealand scientist

Timothy George Haskell is a New Zealand scientist.

The McMurdo Volcanic Group is a large group of Cenozoic volcanic rocks in the western Ross Sea and central Transantarctic Mountains areas of Antarctica. It is one of the largest provinces of alkaline volcanism in the world, having formed as a result of continental rifting along the West Antarctic Rift System.

References

  1. LeMasurier, W. E.; Thomson, J. W., eds. (1990). Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans. American Geophysical Union. p. 512. ISBN   0-87590-172-7.