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Antarctica

Thermochronologic research in Antarctica seeks to understand the formation of the Transantarctic Mountains, and West Antarctic rift system, including the collapse of the West Antarctic plateau.


Victoria Land and the Dry Valleys

Much of our early work on the uplift and formation of the Transantarctic Mountains was undertaken in southern Victoria Land and also northern Victoria Land.

Gleadow, A.J.W. and P.G. Fitzgerald, 1987. Tectonic history and structure of the Transantarctic Mountains: New evidence from fission track dating in the Dry Valleys area of southern Victoria Land, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 82, 1-14.

Fitzgerald, P.G., M. Sandiford, P.J. Barrett and A.J.W. Gleadow, 1986. Asymmetric extension in the Transantarctic Mountains and Ross Embayment, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 81, 67-78.

Fitzgerald, P.G. and A.J.W. Gleadow, 1988. Fission track geochronology, tectonics and structure of the Transantarctic Mountains in Northern Victoria Land, Antarctica, Isotope Geoscience, 73, 169-198.


Mt Doorly at the mouth of the Wright Valley in the Dry Valleys region of southern Victoria Land. Note the faulted Ferrar Dolerite sills. The vertical sampling profile collected in the Gleadow and Fitzgerald (1987) paper in which an exhumed apatite partial annealing zone was revealed (for the first time) runs down the spur in the foreground. View is looking to the north across the Wilson Piedmont Glacier
Mt Doorly at the mouth of the Wright Valley in the Dry Valleys region of southern Victoria Land. Note the faulted Ferrar Dolerite sills.  The vertical sampling profile collected in the Gleadow and Fitzgerald (1987) paper in which an exhumed apatite partial annealing zone was revealed (for the first time) runs down the spur in the foreground.  View is looking to the north across the Wilson Piedmont Glacier.

Royal Society Range from the small peaks at mouth of the Ferrar Glacier (south side)
Royal Society Range from the small peaks at mouth of the Ferrar Glacier (south side)


Shackleton Glacier

 Miller, Fitzgerald and Baldwin (2010)  Cenozoic range-front faulting and development of the Transantarctic Mountains near Cape Surprise, Antarctica: Thermochronologic and geomorphologic constraints, Tectonics, 29, TC1003, doi:10.1029/2009TC00245



Shackleton Glacier

Shackleton Glacier

 


Ellsworth Mountains

The Ellsworth Mountains, comprising the Sentinel and Hertiage Ranges, lie within the Ellsworth-Whitmore Mountains crustal block, which is one of the West Antarctica microplates.  The Vinson Massif, at greater than 16,000 feet, is the highest mountain in Antarctica, forming part of the spine of the Sentinel Range.  Research in the region includes trips to the Sentinel and Heritage Ranges.


Fitzgerald, P.G., and E. Stump, 1991. Early Cretaceous uplift in the Ellsworth Mountains of West Antarctica. Science 254, 92-94.


Fitzgerald, P.G., and E. Stump, 1992. Early Cretaceous uplift in the southern Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica. in Recent Progress in Antarctic Earth Science, Y. Yoshida, K. Kaminuma and K. Shiraishi (Editors), pp. 331-340, TERRAPUB, Tokyo.



Vinson Massif (from the west)

The Vinson Massif, Antarctica's highest mountain.  Photo (Paul Fitzgerald) taken from the west.  This shows the standard ascent route.