Wilkes Land is a large district of land in eastern Antarctica, formally claimed by Australia as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory, though the validity of this claim has been placed for the period of the operation of the Antarctic Treaty, to which Australia is a signatory. It fronts on the southern Indian Ocean between Queen Mary Coast and Adelie Land, extending from Cape Hordern in 100°31' E to Pourquoi Pas Point, in 136°11' E. The region extends as a sector about 2600 km towards the South Pole, with an estimated land area of 2,600,000 km², mostly glaciated. It is further subdivided in the following coastal areas which can also be thought of as sectors extending to the South Pole:
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. 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.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
The Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) is a part of Antarctica administered by the Australian Antarctic Division, an agency of the federal Department of the Environment and Energy. The territory's history dates to a claim on Enderby Land made by the United Kingdom in 1841, which was subsequently expanded and eventually transferred to Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation by area. In 1961, the Antarctic Treaty came into force. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. As a result, only four other countries; New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France and Norway recognise Australia's claim to sovereignty in Antarctica.
In a wider sense, Wilkes Land extends further East to Point Alden in 142°02' E, thereby including Adélie Land, which is claimed by France.
Point Alden in Antarctica is an ice-covered point with rock exposures along the seaward side. The point marks the western side of the entrance to Commonwealth Bay and the division between Adélie Coast and George V Coast in Antarctica. The point was discovered on January 30, 1840 by the USEE under Lt. Charles Wilkes, and named by him for Lt. James Alden of the expedition's flagship Vincennes.
Adélie Land is a claimed territory on the continent of Antarctica. It stretches from a coastline area along the Great Southern Ocean inland all the way to the South Pole. France administrates it as one of five districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands since 1955 and apply the Antarctic Treaty System rules since 1961. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. France has had a permanent station in Adélie Land since April 9, 1950. The current Dumont d'Urville Station has a winter population around 33, but this goes up to about 78 during the Antarctic summer.
Wilkes Land is named after Lieutenant Charles Wilkes (later a Rear Admiral), the American explorer who commanded the 1838–42 United States Exploring Expedition. The naming is in recognition of Wilkes' discovery of the continental margin over a distance of 2,400 km (1,500 miles) of coast, thus providing substantial proof that Antarctica is a continent. This definition of extent excludes the area east of 142°02' E, George V Land, which was sighted by Wilkes but has been shown by later expeditions to be further south than the positions originally assigned by him.
Charles Wilkes was an American naval officer, ship's captain, and explorer. He led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 and commanded the ship in the Trent Affair during the American Civil War (1861–1865), where he attacked a Royal Mail Ship, almost leading to war between the US and the UK. His behavior led to two convictions by court-martial, one stemming from the massacre of almost 80 Fijians on Malolo in 1840.
The continental margin is one of the three major zones of the ocean floor, the other two being deep-ocean basins and mid-ocean ridges. The continental margin is the shallow water area found in proximity to continent. The continental margin consists of three different features: the continental rise, the continental slope, and the continental shelf. Continental margins constitute about 28% of the oceanic area.
The kilometre, or kilometer is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one thousand metres. It is now the measurement unit used officially for expressing distances between geographical places on land in most of the world; notable exceptions are the United States and the road network of the United Kingdom where the statute mile is the official unit used.
In 2006 a team of researchers led by Ralph von Frese and Laramie Potts used gravity measurements by NASA's GRACE satellites to discover the 300-mile-wide Wilkes Land crater, which probably formed about 250 million years ago.
Ralph R. B. von Frese is an American geophysicist at the Ohio State University who identified the Wilkes Land mass concentration in Antarctica in collaboration with Laramie Potts.
Laramie Potts is an American scientist at Ohio State University who identified the Wilkes Land mass concentration in Antarctica in collaboration with Ralph von Frese. He is from South Africa. He currently teaches geomatics (surveying) at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
The X-Files is a 1998 American science fiction thriller film directed by Rob Bowman. Chris Carter wrote the screenplay. The story is by Carter and Frank Spotnitz. It is the first feature film based on Carter's television series The X-Files, which revolves around fictional unsolved cases called the X-Files and the characters solving them. Five main characters from the television series appear in the film: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, John Neville, and William B. Davis reprise their respective roles as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, Well-Manicured Man, and the Cigarette-Smoking Man. The film was promoted with the tagline Fight the Future.
FBI Special Agent Fox William Mulder is a fictional character in the Fox science fiction-supernatural television series The X-Files, played by David Duchovny. Mulder's peers consider his theories on extraterrestrial activity as spooky and far-fetched. With his FBI partner Dana Scully, he works in the X-Files office, which is concerned with cases with particularly mysterious or possibly paranormal circumstances that were left unsolved and shelved by the FBI. Mulder was a main character for the first seven seasons, but was limited to a recurring character for the following two seasons. He returns as a main character for the tenth and eleventh seasons.
Dana Katherine Scully is a fictional character in the Fox science fiction-supernatural television series The X-Files, played by Gillian Anderson. Scully is an FBI agent and a medical doctor (M.D.), partnered with fellow Special Agent Fox Mulder for the first seven, and the tenth and eleventh seasons, and with John Doggett in the eighth and ninth seasons. In the television series, they work out of a cramped basement office at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. to investigate unsolved cases labeled "X-Files". In 2002, Scully left government employment, and in 2008 she began working as a surgeon in Our Lady of Sorrows, a private Catholic hospital – where she stayed for seven years, until rejoining the FBI. In contrast to Mulder's credulous "believer" character, Scully is the skeptic for the first seven seasons, choosing to base her beliefs on what science can prove. She later on becomes a "believer" after Mulder's abduction at the end of season seven.
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.
Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville was a French explorer, naval officer and rear admiral, who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. As a botanist and cartographer he gave his name to several seaweeds, plants and shrubs, and places such as d'Urville Island in New Zealand.
Polar drift is a geological phenomenon caused by variations in the flow of molten iron in Earth's outer core, resulting in changes in the orientation of Earth's magnetic field, and hence the position of the magnetic north- and south poles.
Commonwealth Bay is an open bay about 48 km (30 mi) wide at the entrance between Point Alden and Cape Gray in Antarctica. It was discovered in 1912 by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition under Douglas Mawson, who established the main base of the expedition at Cape Denison at the head of the bay. Named by Australasian Antarctic Expedition after the Commonwealth of Australia.
Marie Byrd Land is the portion of West Antarctica lying east of the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ross Sea and south of the Pacific Ocean, extending eastward approximately to a line between the head of the Ross Ice Shelf and Eights Coast. It stretches between 158°W and 103°24'W. The inclusion of the area between the Rockefeller Plateau and Eights Coast is based upon the leading role of the American Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd in the exploration of this area. The name was originally applied by Admiral Byrd in 1929, in honor of his wife, to the northwestern part of the area, the part that was explored in that year.
Shackleton Ice Shelf is an extensive ice shelf fronting the coast of East Antarctica for about 384 km, projecting seaward about 145 km in the western portion and 64 km in the east. It occupies an area of 33,820 km². It is part of Mawson Sea and separates the Queen Mary Coast to the west from the Knox Coast of Wilkes Land to the east. The existence of this ice shelf was first made known by the USEE under Charles Wilkes who mapped a portion of it from the Vincennes in February 1840. It was explored by the Australian Antarctic Expedition under Douglas Mawson (1911–14) who named it for Sir Ernest Shackleton. The extent of the ice shelf was mapped in greater detail in 1955, using aerial photography obtained by US Navy Operation Highjump, 1946-47. Further mapping by the Soviet Expedition of 1956 showed the portion eastward of Scott Glacier to be a part of this ice shelf.
Scullin Monolith is a crescent-shaped rock fronting the sea 6 km (3.7 mi) west of the similar Murray Monolith, and 8 km (5.0 mi) from Torlyn Mountain, in Mac. Robertson Land, Antarctica. Early in January 1930 the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) under Douglas Mawson made an aerial flight from the ship over the area. Mawson set foot on the rock on 13 February 1931 and named it for James Scullin, Prime Minister of Australia in 1929 - 31. The rock was charted in January and February 1931 from Norwegian whale catchers exploring the coast, and named "Mount Klarius Mikkelsen" for Captain Klarius Mikkelsen, master of the whale catcher Torlyn. Mikkelsen Peak is retained as the name of the highest peak of the outcrop.
Paulet Island is a circular island about 1.5 km (0.93 mi) in diameter, lying 4.5 km (2.8 mi) south-east of Dundee Island, off the north-eastern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. Because of its large penguin colony, it is a popular destination for sightseeing tours.
Sabrina Coast is that portion of the coast of Wilkes Land, Antarctica, lying between Cape Waldron, at 115° 33' E, and Cape Southard, at 122° 05' E. John Balleny has long been credited with having seen land in March 1839 at about 117° E.
Banzare Coast, part of Wilkes Land, is that portion of the coast of Antarctica lying between Cape Southard, at 122°05′E, and Cape Morse, at 130°10′E.
Wilkes Land crater is an informal term that may apply to two separate cases of conjectured giant impact craters hidden beneath the ice cap of Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. These are separated below under the heading Wilkes Land anomaly and Wilkes Land mascon , based on terms used in their principal published reference sources.
Adélie Valley, also variously known as Adilie Valley, Dumont d'Urville Trough or Adélie Trough, is a drowned fjord on the continental margin of East Antarctica. Named in association with this long named portion of Wilkes Land on the Antarctic coast. Name approved by the Advisory Committee on Undersea Features in December 1971.
Murray Monolith is a detached part of Torlyn Mountain in Mac.Robertson Land, Antarctica. It was discovered during the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE), led by Mawson, 1929–1931, and named after Sir George Murray, Chancellor of the University of Adelaide and a patron of the expedition.
Clark Peninsula is a rocky peninsula, about 3 km (2 mi) long and wide, lying 5 km north-east of Australia's Casey Station at the north side of Newcomb Bay on the Budd Coast of Wilkes Land in Antarctica.
There are seven sovereign states who currently maintain de jure, largely symbolic territorial claims in Antarctica: Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories; however, a number of such facilities are located nowhere near the sectors claimed by their respective countries of operation, and there are multiple other countries such as Russia and the United States who, despite having no territorial claim of their own anywhere in Antarctica, have constructed large research facilities within the sectors claimed by other countries.
The South Magnetic Pole is the wandering point on Earth's Southern Hemisphere where the geomagnetic field lines are directed vertically upwards. It should not be confused with the South Geomagnetic Pole described later.
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A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.