Vestfold Hills

Last updated

The Vestfold Hills are rounded, rocky, coastal hills, 411 square kilometres (159 sq mi) in extent, on the north side of Sorsdal Glacier on the Ingrid Christensen Coast of Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica. The hills are subdivided by three west-trending peninsulas bounded by narrow fjords. Most of the hills range between 30 and 90 metres (98 and 300 ft) in height, with the highest summit reaching nearly 160 metres (520 ft).

Contents

Geography

The Vestfold Hills are largely snow and ice-free and are thus classified as an Antarctic oasis. They contain a great variety of lake systems with over 300 lakes and ponds [1] including what is possibly the largest concentration of meromictic (stratified) lakes in the world. [2] This region contains 37 permanently stratified water bodies, [3] including six marine basins and seven seasonally isolated marine basins (SIMBs). These stratified basins also have great variety. They range in salinity from 4 g L−1 to 235 g L−1, in temperature from −14 to 24 °C (6.8 to 75 °F), in depth from 5 to 110 metres (16 to 361 ft), in area from 3.6 to 146 hectares (8.9 to 360.8 acres) and surface level from 30 metres (98 ft) below to 29 metres (95 ft) above sea level. [2] The region contains a large lake, Lake Burton, as well as the smaller Krok Lake and Camp Lake.

History and naming

The Vestfold Hills were discovered and a landing was made in the northern portion on February 20, 1935, by Captain Klarius Mikkelsen together with his wife and seven crew members (including the ship's dentist, Lief Sørsdal) of the Norwegian whaling ship "Thorshavn" sent out by Lars Christensen. Mrs Caroline Mikkelsen thereby became the first woman to set foot on the Antarctic continent.[ citation needed ]

The Vestfold Hills are named after Vestfold, a county in Norway where Sandefjord, headquarters of the whaling industry, is located. This hill area and its off-lying islands were mapped from air photos taken by the Lars Christensen Expedition (1936–37). Further brief landings were made by Lincoln Ellsworth and several claims made by Hubert Wilkins in 1939. and the area was photographed from the air by USN Operation Highjump (1946–47). Landings were made and exploration carried out in 1954 and 1955 by ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions) led by Phillip Law. Davis Station was established by ANARE in January 1957.[ citation needed ]

A panoramic view of the northern end of Stinear Lake, in the snow-covered Vestfold Hills, Antarctica. Vestfold Hills - PJS - Next to Lake Stinear.jpg
A panoramic view of the northern end of Stinear Lake, in the snow-covered Vestfold Hills, Antarctica.

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Davis Station Antarctic base in Australian Antarctic Territory

The Davis Station, commonly called Davis, is one of three permanent bases and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Davis is situated on the coast of Cooperation Sea in Princess Elizabeth Land, Ingrid Christensen Coast in the Australian Antarctic Territory, a territory claimed by Australia. Davis lies in the Antarctic oasis, a remarkable ice free area known as the Vestfold Hills.

Meromictic lake Permanently stratified lake with layers of water that do not intermix

A meromictic lake is a lake which has layers of water that do not intermix. In ordinary, holomictic lakes, at least once each year, there is a physical mixing of the surface and the deep waters.

Lake Vanda

Lake Vanda is a lake in Wright Valley, Victoria Land, Ross Dependency, Antarctica. The lake is 5 km long and has a maximum depth of 69 m. On its shore, New Zealand maintained Vanda Station from 1968 to 1995. Lake Vanda is a hypersaline lake with a salinity more than ten times that of seawater and more than the salinity of the Dead Sea. Lake Vanda is also meromictic, which means that the deeper waters of the lake don't mix with the shallower waters. There are three distinct layers of water ranging in temperature from 23 °C (73 °F) on the bottom to the middle layer of 7 °C (45 °F) and the upper layer ranges from 4–6 °C (39–43 °F). It is only one of the many saline lakes in the ice-free valleys of the Transantarctic Mountains. The longest river of Antarctica, Onyx River, flows West, inland, into Lake Vanda. There is a meteorological station at the mouth of the river.

The Ingrid Christensen Coast is that portion of the coast of Antarctica lying between Jennings Promontory, in 72°33′E, and the western end of the West Ice Shelf in 81°24′E. It is located in the western half of Princess Elizabeth Land, just east of the Amery Ice Shelf.

Caroline Mikkelsen was a Danish-Norwegian explorer who on 20 February 1935 was the first woman to set foot on Antarctica, although whether this was on the mainland or an island is a matter of dispute.

Walkabout Rocks is a prominent rock exposure along the coast at the north-eastern extremity of the Vestfold Hills, about 0.5 nautical miles south of the Wyatt Earp Islands of Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica. It was mapped from aerial photographs taken by the Lars Christensen Expedition, 1936–37.

Radok Lake Lake in Antarctica

Radok Lake is a meltwater lake about four miles (6.4 km) long and marked by a slender glacier tongue feeding into it from the west, lying three miles (4.8 km) south-west of Beaver Lake and 15 miles (24 km) south-east of the Aramis Range, Prince Charles Mountains. It was plotted by Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) from air photos taken by the RAAF Antarctic Flight in 1956. The lake was named for Uwe Radok, Reader (head) of Meteorology Dept at the University of Melbourne, who greatly assisted Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE)'s glaciological program. With a depth of 362 metres (1,188 ft), Radok Lake is the deepest known lake on the Antarctic continent and the only known freshwater lake to host a floating ice tongue glacier. It is drained by three-mile-long (4.8 km) Pagodroma Gorge in to Beaver Lake. Radok Lake is an isothermal and non-stratified Lake, i.e. homogeneous water body.

Tryne Islands Islands of Antarctica

The Tryne Islands are a group of numerous small Antarctic islands and rocks, about 7 km (4 mi) in extent, forming the western limit of Tryne Bay and Tryne Sound at the north-eastern end of the Vestfold Hills. The islands were mapped by Norwegian cartographers from aerial photographs taken by the Lars Christensen Expedition (1936–37) and named Trynøyane.

Mule Peninsula is an irregularly shaped rocky peninsula between Ellis Fjord and Krok Fjord in the southern part of the Vestfold Hills of Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica. It was mapped from aerial photographs taken by the Lars Christensen Expedition of 1936–37 and named Breidnesmulen by Norwegian cartographers. Mule Peninsula is an adaptation of the original Norwegian name by the Antarctic Names Committee of Australia.

Ellis Fjord is a long narrow fjord between Breidnes Peninsula and Mule Peninsula in the Vestfold Hills of Antarctica. It was photographed by the Lars Christensen Expedition (1936–37), and plotted by Norwegian cartographers as a bay and a remnant lake which were called "Mulvik" and "Langevatnet" respectively. Analysis by John Roscoe of air photos taken by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump (1946–47) showed these two features to be connected. The feature was renamed Ellis Fjord by Roscoe after Edwin E. Ellis, aerial photographer on U.S. Navy Operation Highjump flights over this area.

Partizan Island

Partizan Island is an island in Antarctica. This hook-shaped island 5.6 kilometres (3 nmi) long lies in the middle of the entrance to Langnes Fjord, Vestfold Hills. Mapped by Norwegian cartographers from air photos taken by the Lars Christensen Expedition (1936–37). They gave the name Onguloy, but that name might be confused with the better known Ongul Island, the site of recent Japanese Antarctic Research Expeditions. The area was subsequently photographed from the air by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump (1946–47), ANARE (1954–58), and the Soviet Antarctic Expedition (1956). It was renamed Ostrov Partizan by the Soviet expedition.

Sørsdal Glacier

Sørsdal Glacier is a heavily crevassed glacier on the Ingrid Christensen Coast of Princess Elizabeth Land in Antarctica, 15 nautical miles (28 km) long, flowing westward along the south side of Krok Fjord and the Vestfold Hills and terminating in a prominent glacier tongue at Prydz Bay. Discovered in February 1935 by a Norwegian expedition under Captain Klarius Mikkelsen and named for Lief Sørsdal, a Norwegian dentist and a member of the party from the whaling ship Thorshavn that landed at the northern end of the Vestfold Hills.

Lake Burton (Antarctica)

Lake Burton, also known as Burton Lagoon, is a meromictic and saline lake in the Vestfold Hills of Princess Elizabeth Land in Eastern Antarctica. Princess Elizabeth Land, including the lake, is claimed by Australia as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory. The lake has a surface area of 1.35 km2 (0.52 sq mi), a volume of 9.69 million m3, a maximum depth of 18.3 metres (60 ft) and a mean depth of 7.16 metres (23.5 ft). The lake is named after H. R. Burton, a biologist working in the Vestfold Hills of Antarctica.

Organic Lake

Organic Lake is a lake in the Vestfold Hills in eastern Antarctica. It was formed 6,000 years ago when sea levels were higher; it is isolated, rather shallow 7.5 metres (25 ft), meromictic, a few hundred meters in diameter and has extremely salty water. It has the highest recorded concentration of dimethyl sulfide in any natural body of water.

Amanda Bay

Amanda Bay, also sometimes known as Hovde Cove, lies in southern Prydz Bay on the Ingrid Christensen Coast of Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica. It is best known for its breeding colony of several thousand pairs of emperor penguins on sea ice at the south-west corner of the bay.

Magnetic Island (Antarctica) Island of Antarctica

Magnetic Island is a small island in the Donskiye Islands group in the Donskiye Islands group lying 500 m north-east of Turner Island, off the Breidnes Peninsula, Vestfold Hills, Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica.

Ingrid Christensen

Ingrid Christensen was an early polar explorer. She was known as the first woman to view Antarctica and land on the Antarctic mainland.

Kazak Island Island of Antarctica

Kazak Island lies 1 km south of Hawker Island and 0.5 km west of the Mule Peninsula, in Prydz Bay on the Ingrid Christensen Coast of Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica. The nearest permanent research station is Australia's Davis, some 10 km to the north-east on Broad Peninsula, Vestfold Hills.

Zolotov Island Island of Antarctica

Zolotov Island lies 1 km south of Hawker Island and 0.5 km west of the Mule Peninsula, in Prydz Bay on the Ingrid Christensen Coast of Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica. The nearest permanent research station is Australia's Davis, some 10 km to the north-east on Broad Peninsula, Vestfold Hills. Several small lakes are present on the island.

Barrier Island is an island, 0.5 nautical miles (0.9 km) long, at the north end of the Vestfold Hills, lying just north of the entrance to Tryne Fjord in Tryne Sound. Mapped by Norwegian cartographers from air photos taken by the Lars Christensen Expedition, 1936–37. Visited in 1957 by an ANARE party and so named because the island appeared to form a barrier to the passage of icebergs up Tryne Fjord.

References

  1. Swadling, K. M.; et al. (2001). "Fossil Rotifers and the Early Colonization of an Antarctic Lake". Quaternary Research . 55 (3): 380–384. doi:10.1006/qres.2001.2222.
  2. 1 2 Gibson, John A. E. (1999). "The meromictic lakes and stratified marine basins of the Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica". Antarctic Science . 11 (2): 175–92. doi:10.1017/S0954102099000243.
  3. Cavicchioli, Ricardo (2006). "Cold-adapted archaea". Nature Reviews Microbiology . 4: 319–43. doi:10.1038/nrmicro1390.

Coordinates: 68°33′S78°15′E / 68.550°S 78.250°E / -68.550; 78.250 PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document: "Vestfold Hills".(content from the Geographic Names Information System )  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg