Minna Bluff is a rocky promontory at the eastern end of a volcanic Antarctic peninsula projecting deep into the Ross Ice Shelf at . It forms a long, narrow arm which culminates in a south-pointing hook feature (Minna Hook), and is the subject of research into Antarctic cryosphere history, funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs.
The bluff is mentioned repeatedly in the history of Antarctic exploration. It was first sighted in June 1902, during Captain Scott's Discovery Expedition, 1901–04. It was thereafter recognised as a key landmark and location for vital supply depots for southern journeys towards the South Pole. Originally identified simply as "the Bluff", it was later named by Captain Scott after the wife of Royal Geographical Society former president Sir Clements Markham.
Every expedition that followed Scott on this route after his pioneering journey (including Ernest Shackleton 1908, Scott himself 1911 and Shackleton's Ross Sea Party 1914-16) used Minna Bluff to position depots and as a critical marker to guide homeward journeys. Because of the state of the ice in its immediate vicinity, the polar route was established some 20 miles to its east, depots being laid on this route within sight of the Bluff.
The researches of George Simpson, meteorologist on Scott's Terra Nova Expedition established that Minna Bluff has an effect on polar weather. The mass of the Bluff deflects eastward the southerly winds which sweep along the Ross Ice Shelf's eastern edge, and this deflection is then divided when the winds reach Ross Island some 50 miles further north. One stream sweeps into McMurdo Sound, the other goes eastward to Cape Crozier. This division of the wind direction is, among other consequences, the cause of the "windless bight" area on the southern coast of Ross Island, an exceptionally cold area of fogs and low winds, encountered on various land journeys between McMurdo Sound and Cape Crozier undertaken on Scott's two expeditions.
- Wilson: diary entry 12.6.1902 p. 150
- Riffenburgh, pp. 216–17
- Bickel, pp. 99–100
- Solomon, pp. 152–53
- Cherry-Garrard, Map, p. 346
- Bickel, Lennard (2000). Shackleton's Forgotten Men. London: Random House. ISBN 0-7126-6807-1.
- Cherry-Garrard, Apsley (1983). The Worst Journey in the World. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-009501-2.
- Riffenburgh, Beau (2004). Nimrod. London: Bloomsbury Publications. ISBN 0-7475-7253-4.
- Solomon, Susan (2001). The Coldest March. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09921-5.
- Scott, Robert F. (1913). Scott's Last Expedition Vol I. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Wilson, Edward A. (1973). Diary of the Discovery Expedition. London: Blandford Press. ISBN 0-7137-0431-4. Text "Edward Wilson" ignored (help)