Royal Society Range

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Royal Society Range
NOAA Royal Society Range.jpg
View of the Royal Society Range from the Ross Sea
Highest point
Peak Mount Lister
Elevation 13,205 ft (4,025 m)
Coordinates 78°10′00″S 162°40′00″E / 78.16667°S 162.66667°E / -78.16667; 162.66667Coordinates: 78°10′00″S 162°40′00″E / 78.16667°S 162.66667°E / -78.16667; 162.66667
Geography
AN -Victoria Land.png
Map depicting the location of the Royal Society Range in Victoria Land, Antarctica
Continent Antarctica
State/Province Victoria Land, Antarctica
Parent range Transantarctic Mountains

The Royal Society Range (78°10′S 162°40′E / 78.167°S 162.667°E / -78.167; 162.667) is a majestic af mountain range in Victoria Land, Antarctica. With its summit at 4,025 metres (13,205 ft), the massive Mount Lister forms the highest point in this range. Mount Lister is located along the western shore of McMurdo Sound between the Koettlitz, Skelton and Ferrar glaciers. Other notable local terrain features include Allison Glacier, which descends from the west slopes of the Royal Society Range into Skelton Glacier.

Discovery and naming[edit]

Royal Society Range is located in Antarctica
Royal Society Range
Royal Society Range
Map depicting the location of the Royal Society Range in Victoria Land, Antarctica

The range was probably first seen by Captain James Clark Ross in 1841.[1]

The range was explored by the British National Antarctic Expedition (BrNAE) under Robert Falcon Scott, who named the range after the Royal Society and applied names of its members to many of its peaks. For example, Mount Lister was named for Lord Joseph Lister, President of the Royal Society, 1895-1900.[2] The Royal Society provided financial support to the expedition and its members had assisted on the committee which organized the expedition.[1]

Geology[edit]

The Royal Society Range consists of a Precambrian igneous and meta-igneous basement complex overlain by Devonian- to Triassic-age sandstones, siltstones and conglomerates of the Beacon Supergroup which dip shallowly westward away from the Ross Sea coast.[3] The entire region is cut by north-south trending longitudinal faults, east-west trending transverse faults, and structurally related dike swarms.[4]

Tectonic and fluvial activity have featured very heavily in the recent geologic history of the Royal Society Range. Following the extension of the Ross Sea Basin (c. 55 million years ago), an episode of uplift drove the creation of the Royal Society Range rift flank. At this time a tectonic (though not accretionary) wedge, up to 6 km thick on the coast, was present, though it quickly began to erode due primarily to fluvial processes, and the Royal Society Range was cut down near to its present appearance by the mid-Miocene. Relatively limited glacial action since that time has preserved much of the fluvial architecture of the Range, and though uplift did not cease, its magnitude is such that it has not drastically affected the landscape, having progressed only 67 meters in the last 8 million years.[3]

Volcanic history[edit]

The Royal Society Range contains over 50 basaltic vents, ranging in size from tiny mounds to cinder cones up to 300 meters (985 feet) high. Dating of surface material indicates they were active earlier than 15 million years ago (e.g. Heald Island)[5] and as recently as 80,000 years ago, with glacier-bound tephra layers suggesting even more recent Holocene activity.[6] The vast majority of vents are located in the foothills of the Royal Societies just north of Koettlitz Glacier, and most are Quaternary in age. Most emanating flows are 3–10 meters thick and less than 4 kilometers long. The composition, with very few exceptions, is porphyritic basanite with primarily olivine and clinopyroxene phenocrysts, though some phenocrystic plagioclase is also present.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Royal Society Range". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2004-11-13. 
  2. ^ "Mount Lister". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  3. ^ a b Sugden, D.E., Summerfield, M.A., Denton, G.H., Wilch, T.I., McIntosh, W.C., Marchant, D.R., and Rutford, R.H., 1999, Landscape development in the Royal Society Range, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica: stability since the mid-Miocene: Geomorphology, v. 28, p. 181-200.
  4. ^ Wilson, T.J., 1995, Cenozoic transtension along the Transantarctic Mountains–West Antarctic rift boundary, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica: Tectonics, v. 14, 531–545.
  5. ^ Wilch, T.I., 1991, The surficial geology and geochronology of middle Taylor Valley Antarctica: Implications for Plio-Pleistocene Antarctic glacial history [M.S. thesis]: Orono, The University of Maine, 363 p.,
  6. ^ Armstrong, R.L., 1978, K-Ar dating: Late Cenozoic McMurdo Volcanic Group and Dry Valley glacial history, Victoria Land, Antarctica: New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, v. 21, p. 685-698.
  7. ^ Wright, A.C., and Kyle, P.R., 1990, Royal Society Range Summary, in LeMasurier, W.E., and Thomson, J.W., eds., Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans: Washington, DC, American Geophysical Union, Antarctic Research Series, v. 48, p. 81-88.