Mawson Peak

Coordinates: 53°6′00″S 73°31′00″E / 53.10000°S 73.51667°E / -53.10000; 73.51667
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Mawson Peak
Mawson Peak, Heard Island.
Satellite image of the southern tip of Heard Island. Cape Arkona is seen on the left side of the image, with Lied Glacier just above and Gotley Glacier just below. Big Ben Volcano and Mawson Peak are seen at the lower right side of the image.
Highest point
Elevation2,745 m (9,006 ft)[1]
Prominence2,745 m (9,006 ft)
Isolation1,922 km (1,194 mi) Edit this on Wikidata
ListingCountry high point
Coordinates53°6′00″S 73°31′00″E / 53.10000°S 73.51667°E / -53.10000; 73.51667
Mawson Peak is located in Indian Ocean
Mawson Peak
Mawson Peak
Location of Heard Island
LocationHeard Island, Australia
Parent rangeBig Ben
Topo mapRAN Heard Island 291
Mountain typeVolcanic cone
Last eruption2012 to 2018 (ongoing)[2]

Mawson Peak is an active volcanic summit of the Big Ben massif on Heard Island, an external Australian territory in the Indian Ocean.

With an elevation of 2,745 metres (9,006 ft), it is the third highest peak in any state or territory of Australia,[3] higher than the 2,228-metre (7,310 ft) Mount Kosciuszko, and surpassed only by the 3,490-metre (11,450 ft) Mount McClintock and the 3,355-metre (11,007 ft) Mount Menzies claimed in the Australian Antarctic Territory.[4] The peak erupts fairly frequently,[5] as recently as May 2023.[6] Mawson Peak is ranked 30th by topographic isolation.

Discovery and naming[edit]

Mawson Peak was named by the 1948 Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions Heard Island Expedition after the Australian geologist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, the leader of the British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition 1929–1931, who visited the island in November – December 1929.[7]

On 20 February 1950, whilst aboard HMAS Lebuan, Thomas Gratton Young OAM observed and recorded in the ship's log that Mawson Peak was an active volcano.

In 1964 an expedition to Heard Island was led by Major Warwick Deacock, with the schooner Patanela skippered by Major Bill Tilman. They succeeded in climbing Mawson Peak for the first time. An earlier attempt on the peak during the 1953–1954 research expedition was described[8] by its leader, John Béchervaise.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Mawson Peak, Heard Island". 16 March 2009.
  2. ^ "Heard Island". 25 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Highest mountains on external territories". Australian Government – Geoscience Australia. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mawson Peak
  5. ^ "Scientists witness 'amazing' eruption of volcano on sub-Antarctic island". ABC News. February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  6. ^ Readfearn G. Australian volcano near Antarctica captured on satellite spewing lava. The Guardian, 30 May 2023
  7. ^ "Mawson Peak". Antarctic Gazetteer Name Details. Australian Antarctic Division. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  8. ^ Béchervaise (1962)


  • Béchervaise, J (1962). "A problem of weather" (PDF). Journal of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. XIX (56): 225–243. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  • LeMasurier, WE; Thomson, JW, eds. (1990). Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans. American Geophysical Union. ISBN 0-87590-172-7.
  • "Article". Aurora. 30 (3). March 2011.

External links[edit]