Map of Antarctica indicating location of Mount Elkins
|Elevation||2,300 m (7,500 ft)|
|Location||Enderby Land, Australian Antarctic Territory, East Antarctica|
|Age of rock||2837 million years (Archean eon)|
|First ascent||1960, by a survey party from Mawson Station which included Terence James Elkins, Sydney L. Kirkby, and Neville Joseph Collins|
|Easiest route||basic snow/ice climb|
Mount Elkins, also known as Jökelen (which means "The Glacier") is a dark, steep-sided mountain with three major peaks, the highest 2,300 meters (7,500 ft) above sea level, in the Napier Mountains of Enderby Land. Enderby Land is part of the Australian Antarctic Territory, in East Antarctica. The mountain was named after Terence James Elkins, an ionospheric physicist with the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions at Mawson Station in 1960.
Some notable geographic features in the general vicinity of Mount Elkins include Cape Batterbee (92 km to the north), the Young Nunataks (7.4 km to the south), Sørtoppen Nunatak (30 km to the east), the Newman Nunataks (26 km to the west), Mount McMaster (97 km to the west), and Mount Kjerringa (57 km to the northeast). The nearest permanently inhabited place is Mawson Station, an Australian research station to the southeast. Molodyozhnaya Station, a former Soviet research station which was mothballed in 1989, is located to the southwest of Mount Elkins.
Geology & orogeny
Much of the East Antarctic craton was formed in the Precambrian period by a series of tectonothermal orogenic events. Napier orogeny formed the cratonic nucleus approximately 4 billion years ago. Mount Elkins is a classic example of Napier orogeny. Napier orogeny is characterized by high-grade metamorphism and plate tectonics. The orogenic events which resulted in the formation of the Napier Complex (including Mount Elkins) have been dated to the Archean Eon. Radiometrically dated to as old as 3.8 billion years, some of the zircons collected from the orthogneisses of the Napier Complex are among the oldest rock specimens found on Earth. Billions of years of erosion and tectonic deformation have exposed the metamorphic rock core of these ancient mountains.
The oldest crustal components found to date in the Napier Complex appear to be of igneous derivation. This rock appears to have been overprinted by an ultra-high temperature metamorphic event (UHT) that occurred near the Archean-Proterozoic boundary. Using a lutetium-hafnium (Lu-Hf) method to examine garnet, orthopyroxene, sapphirine, osumilite and rutile from this UHT granulite belt, Choi et al determined an isochron age of 2.4 billion years for this metamorphic event. Using SHRIMPU–Pb zircon dating methodology, Belyatsky et al determined the oldest tectonothermal event in the formation of the Napier Complex to have occurred approximately 2.8 billion years ago.
Preservation of the UHT mineral assemblage in the analyzed rock suggests rapid cooling, with closure likely to have occurred for the Lu-Hf system at post-peak UHT conditions near a closure temperature of 800°C. UHT granulites appear to have evolved in a low Lu-Hf environment, probably formed when the rocks were first extracted from a mantle profoundly depleted in lithophile elements. The source materials for the magmas that formed the Napier Complex were extremely depleted relative to the chondritic uniform reservoir (CHUR). These results also suggest significant depletion of the early Archean mantle, in agreement with the early igneous differentiation of the Earth that the latest core formation models require.
To date, no flora has been observed at Mount Elkins.
The following species have been sighted within 1.0 degrees of Mount Elkins:
|Scientific name||Authority||Common name||Observations|
|Balaenoptera bonaerensis||Burmeister, 1867||Antarctic minke whale (also known as the dark-shoulder minke whale)|
|Fulmarus glacialoides||Smith,1840||Southern fulmar|
|Halecium banzare||Watson, 2008||Banzare hydroid|
|Halecium brevithecum||Watson, 2008||Brevithecate hydroid|
|Pagodroma nivea||Forster,1777||Snow petrel|
|Pygoscelis adeliae||Hombron and Jacquinot,1841||Adélie penguin|
|Thalassoica antarctica||Gmelin,1789||Antarctic petrel|
Significance to mountaineers
The summit of Mount Elkins is higher than that of any mountain in Australia—including even Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 metres), which is one of the Seven Summits. Because of its remoteness it has not become a popular target for peak bagging.
The Napier Mountains run northwest from Mount Elkins. To the east is a large valley formed by the Robert and Wilma Glaciers. To the northeast are the Seaton and Rippon Glaciers. All of these glaciers run into the King Edward Ice Shelf. Other notable terrain features in this area include the Beaver Glacier, located to the west of Mount King. Collectively, these terrain features significantly modify weather produced by synoptic scale systems. Dramatic changes can occur over short distances and in short time intervals.
Nearby terrain features
Place names within 1.0 degrees of Mount Elkins (Latitude 66°40.0'S Longitude 54°09.0'E)
|Aagaard Islands||Island||65°51.0'S||53°40.0'E||93.4 km||346°|
|Armstrong Peak||Peak||66°24.0'S||53°23.0'E||45.1 km||311°|
|Bandy Nunataks||Nunatak||66°55.0'S||53°36.0'E||36.8 km||221°|
|Bird Ridge||Ridge||66°47.0'S||55°04.0'E||42.3 km||108°|
|Cape Batterbee||Cape||65°51.0'S||53°48.0'E||92.2 km||350°|
|Conradi Peak||Peak||66°08.0'S||54°35.0'E||62.4 km||018°|
|Doyle Point||Point||65°53.0'S||54°52.0'E||92.8 km||021°|
|Grimsley Peaks||Peak||66°34.0'S||53°40.0'E||24.1 km||297°|
|Mount Bennett||Mountain||66°32.0'S||53°38.0'E||27.2 km||303°|
|Mount Breckinridge||Mountain||66°37.0'S||53°41.0'E||21.3 km||285°|
|Mount Bride||Mountain||66°26.0'S||53°57.0'E||27.4 km||341°|
|Mount Gate||Mountain||66°51.0'S||53°18.0'E||42.5 km||241°|
|Mount Griffiths||Mountain||66°28.0'S||54°01.0'E||23.0 km||345°|
|Mount Maines||Mountain||66°38.0'S||53°54.0'E||11.6 km||288°|
|Mount Pasco||Mountain||66°59.0'S||54°44.0'E||43.5 km||144°|
|Mount Stadler||Mountain||66°54.0'S||53°14.0'E||47.8 km||237°|
|Napier Mountains||Mountain||66°30.0'S||53°40.0'E||28.3 km||311°|
|Newman Nunataks||Nunatak||66°40.0'S||54°45.0'E||26.4 km||090°|
|Proclamation Island||Island||65°51.0'S||53°41.0'E||93.2 km||347°|
|Skarvet Nunatak||Nunatak||66°26.0'S||53°45.0'E||31.4 km||326°|
|Sørtoppen Nunatak||Nunatak||66°40.0'S||53°28.0'E||30.1 km||270°|
|Tippet Nunataks||Nunatak||66°44.0'S||53°15.0'E||40.3 km||259°|
|Vicars Island||Island||65°50.0'S||54°29.0'E||93.9 km||009°|
|Wheeler Rocks||Rock||66°17.0'S||55°08.0'E||61.0 km||046°|
|Wilkinson Peaks||Peak||66°37.0'S||54°15.0'E||7.1 km||038°|
|Young Nunataks||Nunatak||66°44.0'S||54°08.0'E||7.4 km||186°|
Mount Elkins was first mapped by Norwegian cartographers from aerial photographs taken by the Lars Christensen Expedition, 1936–37, and named at that time Jökelen (The Glacier). It was remapped by ANARE from aerial photographs taken from an ANARE aircraft in 1956. The Napier Mountains were first visited by an ANARE survey party from Mawson Station in 1960. The survey party was led by Syd Kirkby, and included Terence James Elkins.
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- Choi SH, Mukasa SB, Andronikov AV, Osanai Y, Harley SL, Kelly NM (2006). "Lu Hf systematics of the ultra-high temperature Napier Metamorphic Complex in Antarctica: Evidence for the early Archean differentiation of Earth's mantle". Earth and Planetary Science Letters 246 (3-4): 305–16. Bibcode:2006E&PSL.246..305C. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2006.04.012. ISSN 0012-821X.
- Belyatsky, BV; Rodionov, NV; Sergeev, SA; Kamenev, EN (2007). Cooper, AK; Raymond, CR, eds. New evidence for the early Archaean evolution of Aker Peaks, Napier Mountains, Enderby Land (East Antarctica). Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World—Online Proceedings for the 10th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. Santa Barbara, California: U.S. Geological Survey. pp. 187.1–4. ISBN 978-0-309-11854-5. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
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- "Current Weather Conditions near Mount Elkins". Mountain-Forecast.com. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
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- Australian Antarctic Division
- Australian Antarctic Gazetteer
- Australian Antarctic Names and Medals Committee (AANMC)
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- PDF Map of the Australian Antarctic Territory
- Mawson Station
- ANARE Club
- List of Peaks in Enderby Land
- A satellite map of Mount Elkins at the United States Antarctic Resource Center's Atlas of Antarctic Research.
- Animation of craton formation of Antarctica Precambrian formation of the Antarctic craton, beginning with Napier orogenic events