Victoria Land

Last updated

Area map of Victoria land. AN -Victoria Land.png
Area map of Victoria land.

Victoria Land is a region in eastern Antarctica which fronts the western side of the Ross Sea and the Ross Ice Shelf, extending southward from about 70°30'S to 78°00'S, and westward from the Ross Sea to the edge of the Antarctic Plateau. [1] It was discovered by Captain James Clark Ross in January 1841 and named after Queen Victoria. [1] The rocky promontory of Minna Bluff is often regarded as the southernmost point of Victoria Land, and separates the Scott Coast to the north from the Hillary Coast of the Ross Dependency to the south.

The region includes ranges of the Transantarctic Mountains and the McMurdo Dry Valleys (the highest point being Mount Abbott in the Northern Foothills), and the flatlands known as the Labyrinth. The 2,700-metre (9,000 ft) Mount Melbourne is an active volcano in Victoria Land. [2]

Early explorers of Victoria Land include James Clark Ross and Douglas Mawson. [3]

In 1979, scientists discovered a group of 309 meteorites in Antarctica, some of which were found near the Allan Hills in Victoria Land. [4] The meteorites appeared to have undergone little change since they were formed at what scientists believe was the birth of the solar system. [4]

In 1981, lichens found at Victoria Land attracted the attention of NASA because lichens may give clues about where to look for the existence of extraterrestrial life on Mars or elsewhere. [5] Dr. George Denton, a glaciologist at the University of New Hampshire looked for microorganisms on Mount Lister, one of the highest in Antarctica; it has the same kind of sandstone in which lichens grow. [5]

In 2017, conservationists at Cape Adare, Victoria Land, unearthed an ice-covered fruitcake that they believe once belonged to the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott. [6] Scott's Northern Party expedition was in 1911, making the age of the fruitcake 106 years old. [6] A program manager said it was in “excellent condition." [6]

Related Research Articles

Geography of Antarctica Geographic features of Antarctica

The geography of Antarctica is dominated by its south polar location and, thus, by ice. The Antarctic continent, located in the Earth's southern hemisphere, is centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. It is washed by the Southern Ocean or, depending on definition, the southern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. It has an area of more than 14 million km2. Antarctica is the largest ice desert in the world

Balleny Islands

The Balleny Islands are a series of uninhabited islands in the Southern Ocean extending from 66°15' to 67°35'S and 162°30' to 165°00'E. The group extends for about 160 km (99 mi) in a northwest-southeast direction. The islands are heavily glaciated and of volcanic origin. Glaciers project from their slopes into the sea. The islands were formed by the so-called Balleny hotspot.

Ross Island Island in Ross Sea, Antarctica

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.

Mount Erebus Volcano on Ross Island, Antarctica

Mount Erebus is the second-highest volcano in Antarctica, the highest active 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.

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.

Antarctic Peninsula Peninsula located in northern Antarctica

The Antarctic Peninsula, known as O'Higgins Land in Chile and Tierra de San Martín in Argentina, and originally as Graham Land in the United Kingdom and the Palmer Peninsula in the United States, is the northernmost part of mainland Antarctica.

Transantarctic Mountains Mountain range in Antarctica

The Transantarctic Mountains comprise a mountain range of uplifted 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 Geographic location

McMurdo Sound is a sound in Antarctica. The sound, which extends about 55 kilometers 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.

Marie Byrd Land Unclaimed West Antarctic region

Marie Byrd Land (MBL) is an unclaimed region of Antarctica. With an area of 1,610,000 km2 (620,000 sq mi), it is the largest unclaimed territory on Earth. It was named after the wife of American naval officer Richard E. Byrd, who explored the region in the early 20th century.

Bowers Mountains Mountain range on the coast of the East Antarctic Victoria Land

Bowers Mountains is a group of north–south trending mountains in Antarctica, about 145 km (90 mi) long and 56 km (35 mi) wide, bounded by the coast on the north and by the Rennick, Canham, Black and Lillie glaciers in other quadrants. The seaward end was first sighted in February 1911 from the Terra Nova, under Lt. Harry L.L. Pennell, RN, and was subsequently named "Bowers Hills" in honour of Henry Robertson Bowers who perished with Captain Robert Falcon Scott on their return from the South Pole in 1912. The mountain range is one of the most extensive topographical features within Victoria Land.

Mount Melbourne Stratovolcano in the Antarctic

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. The volcano contains numerous parasitic vents, and a volcanic field surrounds the edifice. Mount Melbourne has a volume of about 180 cubic kilometres (43 cu mi), and contains 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 years. The volcano is fumarolically active.

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.

The Pleiades are a volcanic group in northern Victoria Land of Antarctica. It consists of youthful cones and domes with Mount Atlas/Mount Pleiones, a small stratovolcano formed by three overlapping cones, being the dominant volcano and rising 500 m (1,600 ft) above the Evans Névé plateau. Two other named cones are Alcyone Cone and Taygete Cone, the latter of which has been radiometrically dated to have erupted during the Holocene. A number of tephra layers across Antarctica have been attributed to eruptions of this volcanic group, including several that may have occurred within the last few hundred years.

Smith Glacier is a low-gradient Antarctic glacier, over 160 km (100 mi) long, draining from Toney Mountain in an ENE direction to Amundsen Sea. A northern distributary, Kohler Glacier, drains to Dotson Ice Shelf but the main flow passes to the sea between Bear Peninsula and Mount Murphy, terminating at Crosson Ice Shelf.

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.

Antarctica Continent

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. Situated almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle and surrounded by the Southern Ocean, it contains the geographic South Pole. Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent, being nearly twice the size of Australia and larger than Europe, and has an area of 14,200,000 km2 (5,500,000 sq mi). Most of Antarctica is covered by ice, with an average thickness of 1.9 km (1.2 mi).

Mount Rittmann is a volcano in Antarctica. Discovered in 1988–1989 by an Italian expedition, it was named after the volcanologist Alfred Rittmann (1893–1980). It features a 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) or 8 by 5 kilometres wide caldera which crops out from underneath the Aviator Glacier. The volcano was active during the Pliocene and into the Holocene, including large explosive eruptions; a major eruption occurred in 1254 CE and deposited tephra over much of Antarctica. Currently, the volcano is classified as dormant.

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. The McMurdo Volcanic Group is part of the Western Ross Supergroup, a stratigraphic unit that also includes the Meander Intrusive Group.

Mount Berlin Volcano in West Antarctica

Mount Berlin is a 3,478 metres (11,411 ft) high glacier-covered volcano in Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica, 210 kilometres (130 mi) from the Amundsen Sea. It is a c. 20-kilometre-wide (12 mi) mountain with parasitic vents that consists of two coalesced volcanoes; Berlin proper with the 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide Berlin Crater and Merrem Peak with a 2.5 by 1 kilometre wide crater, 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) away from Berlin. Trachyte is the dominant volcanic rock and occurs in the form of lava flows and pyroclastic rocks. It has a volume of 2,000 km3 (500 cu mi) and rises from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. It is part of the Marie Byrd Land Volcanic Province.

Mount Petras Mountain in Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica

Mount Petras is a mountain in Antarctica. It consists of volcanic rocks, most of Cretaceous age but there is also an Eocene-Oligocene volcanic system that may have been emplaced inside of thin ice. It is part of the Marie Byrd Land Volcanic Province and is its oldest volcano.


  1. 1 2 "Victoria Land". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 4 January 2007.
  2. "2 VOLCANOES FOUND IN ANTARCTICA". The New York Times. 24 May 1982. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  3. "Victoria Land". The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press. 2001. Archived from the original on 11 February 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2008.
  4. 1 2 "300‐Pound Meteorite Found in Big Cluster On the Antarctic Ice". The New York Times. 18 February 1979. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  5. 1 2 Reinhold, Robert (22 December 1981). "IN HOSTILE VALLEY, LICHENS POSE ANTARCTIC PUZZLE". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  6. 1 2 3 Joseph, Yonette (13 August 2017). "Fruitcake From Robert Scott Expedition Is 'Almost' Edible at 106 Years Old". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 25 May 2021.

Coordinates: 71°15′S163°00′E / 71.250°S 163.000°E / -71.250; 163.000