Ross Island

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Ross Island
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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 (12,448 ft)
Highest point Mount Erebus
Administration
Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System
Demographics
PopulationSummer: 1000; Winter: 140

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.

Volcano A rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface

A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.

Ross Sea A deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica

The Ross Sea is a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica, between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land and within the Ross Embayment, and is the southernmost sea on Earth. It derives its name from the British explorer James Ross who visited this area in 1841. To the west of the sea lies Ross Island and Victoria Land, to the east Roosevelt Island and Edward VII Peninsula in Marie Byrd Land, while the southernmost part is covered by the Ross Ice Shelf, and is about 200 miles (320 km) from the South Pole. Its boundaries and area have been defined by the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research as having an area of 637,000 square kilometres (246,000 sq mi).

Antarctica Polar continent in the Earths southern hemisphere

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Contents

Discovery

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

James Clark Ross British explorer and naval officer

Sir James Clark Ross was a British Royal Navy explorer known for his exploration of the Arctic with Sir William Parry and Sir John Ross, his uncle, and in particular, his own expedition to Antarctica.

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.

History of Antarctica past events regarding the continent of Antarctica

The history of Antarctica emerges from early Western theories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, believed to exist in the far south of the globe. The term Antarctic, referring to the opposite of the Arctic Circle, was coined by Marinus of Tyre in the 2nd century AD.

Ernest Shackleton 19th and 20th-century Anglo-Irish polar explorer

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was a British polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

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.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Scott Base Antarctic base

The Scott Base is a New Zealand Antarctic research facility located at Pram Point on Ross Island near Mount Erebus in New Zealand's Ross Dependency territorial claim. The research facility 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.

McMurdo Station Antarctic base

The McMurdo Station is a United States Antarctic research center 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 United States Antarctic science facilities. All personnel and cargo going to or coming from Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station first pass through McMurdo.

Geography

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.

Ice sheet large mass of glacier ice

An ice sheet, also known as a continental glacier, is a mass of glacial ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50,000 km2 (19,000 sq mi). The only current ice sheets are in Antarctica and Greenland; during the last glacial period at Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) the Laurentide ice sheet covered much of North America, the Weichselian ice sheet covered northern Europe and the Patagonian Ice Sheet covered southern South America.

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 2.4 nautical miles (4.4 km) east-northeast of the summit of Mount Bird.

Mount Erebus volcano on Ross Island, Antarctica

Mount Erebus is the second-highest volcano 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.

Mount Terror (Antarctica) volcano on Ross Island, 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 neighbor, Mount Erebus, 30 km (19 mi) to the west. Mt. Terror was named in 1841 by Sir James Clark Ross for his second ship, HMS Terror. The captain of Terror was Captain Francis Crozier who was a close friend of Ross.

HMS <i>Erebus</i> (1826) Royal Navy ship from 1826

HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel designed by Sir Henry Peake and 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. The 372-ton ship was armed with two mortars – one 13 in (330 mm) and one 10 in (254 mm) – and 10 guns. The ship took part in the Ross expedition of 1839-1843, and was abandoned in 1848 during the third Franklin expedition. The sunken wreck was discovered by the Canadian Victoria Strait Expedition in September 2014.

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

Transantarctic Mountains mountain range in Antarctica

The Transantarctic Mountains comprise a mountain range of uplifted sedimentary rock in Antarctica which extend, with some interruptions, across the continent from Cape Adare in northern Victoria Land to Coats Land. These mountains divide East Antarctica and West Antarctica. They include a number of separately named mountain groups, which are often again subdivided into smaller ranges.

McMurdo Sound landform

McMurdo Sound and its ice-clogged waters extends about 55 kilometres (34 mi) long and wide. The sound connects the Ross Sea to the north with 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 (13,796 ft) 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 (12,448 ft) dominates Ross Island. Antarctica'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.

Air New Zealand Flight 901 November 1979 aviation accident in Antarctica

Air New Zealand Flight 901 (TE-901) was a scheduled Air New Zealand Antarctic sightseeing flight that operated between 1977 and 1979. The flight would leave Auckland Airport in the morning and spend a few hours flying over the Antarctic continent, before returning to Auckland in the evening via Christchurch. On 28 November 1979, the fourteenth flight of TE-901, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30, registration ZK-NZP, flew into Mount Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica, killing all 237 passengers and 20 crew on board. The accident became known as the Mount Erebus disaster.

Royal Society Range mountain range

The Royal Society Range is a majestic 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.

This is a list of extreme points in Antarctica.

Drygalski Ice Tongue glacier in Antarctica

The Drygalski Ice Tongue or Drygalski Barrier or Drygalski Glacier Tongue is a glacier in Antarctica, on the Scott Coast, in the northern McMurdo Sound of Antarctica's Ross Dependency, 240 kilometres (150 mi) north of Ross Island. The Drygalski Ice Tongue is stable by the standards of Antarctica's icefloes, and stretches 70 kilometres (43 mi) out to sea from the David Glacier, reaching the sea from a valley in the Prince Albert Mountains of Victoria Land. The Drygalski Ice Tongue ranges from 14 to 24 kilometres wide.

Hut Point Peninsula peninsula

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.

Lower Erebus Hut Antarctic base

The Lower Erebus Hut (LEH) is a permanent field facility located on Mount Erebus in Ross Island, Antarctica. The hut is the home of the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO), run by New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT). The installation comprises two huts, one kitchen and recreation building and one working and storage building.

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 Royds is a dark rock cape forming the western extremity of Ross Island, facing on McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. It was discovered by the Discovery Expedition (1901–1904) and named for Lieutenant Charles Royds, Royal Navy, who acted as meteorologist on the expedition. Royds subsequently rose to become an Admiral and was later Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, London. There is a hut at Cape Royds built and used by Ernest Shackleton and his team during their 1907–1909 expedition.

Cape Crozier

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.

Aurora Glacier (Antarctica) glacier in Antarctica

Aurora Glacier is a large glacier draining that part of Ross Island between Mount Erebus and Mount Terra Nova, and flowing south into McMurdo Ice Shelf. It was named by A.J. Heine in 1963 after the Aurora, the ship of the Ross Sea Party of the British expedition under Ernest Shackleton, 1914–17.

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 in 1999-2000 were on sea cruises. During the 2009 to 2010 tourist season, over 37,000 people visited Antarctica.

Ross expedition

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

Timothy George Haskell is a New Zealand scientist.

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.