|Elevation||2,300 m (7,500 ft)|
|State/Province||Enderby Land, East Antarctica|
The Napier Mountains are a group of more-or-less separated peaks, the highest being Mount Elkins, at about 2,300 meters above sea level. This mountain range is located in Enderby Land, in the claimed Australian Antarctic Territory, East Antarctica.
The Napier Mountains are located roughly 4 degrees west of Cape Boothby, Edward VIII Bay and Edward VIII Ice Shelf, and 3.5 degrees east of Amundsen Bay. The Napier Mountains are centered about 64 km south of Cape Batterbee in Enderby Land, East Antarctica. It extends about 64 km in a NW-SE direction from Mount Codrington, and also includes Mount Kjerringa, and the Young Nunataks.
The Napier Mountains were discovered in January 1930 by the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) under Sir Douglas Mawson. They were named by Mawson after the Hon. Sir John Mellis Napier, a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, 1924–42 and Chief Justice of South Australia, 1942-67. This mountain range was first visited by an ANARE party in 1960. Members of this party included Syd Kirkby and Terence James Elkins.
Geology & orogeny
The Napier Complex is among the most ancient terrestrial terranes on Earth. Its evolution is characterized by high-grade metamorphism and several strong deformations. At least four distinct tectonothermal events occurred in the Archaean Eon:
- 3.8 billion years ago: occurrence of initial felsic igneous activity over a long period of time
- 3.0 billion years ago: emplacement of charnockite at Proclamation Island
- 2.8 billion years ago: occurrence of a very-high grade discrete tectonothermal event (a UHT metamorphic event)
- 2.5 billion years ago: occurrence of a subsequent, protracted high-grade tectonothermal event
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 Mount Sones 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.
- Harley, SL; Black, LP (1997). A revised Archaean chronology for the Napier Complex, Enderby Land, from SHRIMP ion-microprobe studies (PDF). Antarctic Science 9 (1). pp. 74–91. ISSN 0954-1020. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- Lloyd G, Gibson M. "Geochronology of the Transantarctic Mountains". Tectonics of the Transantarctic Mountains. London: self-published. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- Lloyd G, Gibson M. "Crustal Formation sequence". Tectonics of the Transantarctic Mountains. London: self-published. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
- 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) (PDF). 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.
- Hensen BJ, Motoyoshi Y (1992). "Osumilite-Producing Reactions in High Temperature Granulites from the Napier Complex, East Antarctica: Tectonic Implications". In Yoshida Y. Recent Progress in Antarctic Earth Science (PDF). Tokyo: Terra Scientific Publishing Company. pp. 87–92.
- Hokada T, Misawa K, Yokoyama K, Shiraishi K, Yamaguchi A (2004). "SHRIMP and electron microprobe chronology of UHT metamorphism in the Napier Complex, East Antarctica: implications for zircon growth at >1,000 °C" (PDF). Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 147 (1): 1–20. Bibcode:2004CoMP..147....1H. doi:10.1007/s00410-003-0550-2. ISSN 0010-7999.
- Hokada T, Motoyoshi Y, Suzuki S, Ishikawa M, Ishizuka H (2008). "Geodynamic evolution of Mt. Riiser-Larsen, Napier Complex, East Antarctica, with reference to the UHT mineral associations and their reaction relations". Geological Society, London, Special Publications 308 (1): 253–82. Bibcode:2008GSLSP.308..253H. doi:10.1144/SP308.13. ISSN 0305-8719.
- Tainosho Y, Kagami H, Takahashi Y, Yamamoto K, Maekawa H, IIzumi S, Osanai Y, Tsuchiya N (1995). "PETROCHEMICAL STUDY OF THE GNEISS FROM MOUNT PARDOE AND TONAGH ISLAND IN THE NAPIER COMPLEX, EAST ANTARCTICA". Proceedings of the National Institute of Polar Research Symposium on Antarctic Geosciences 8. National Institute of Polar Research. p. 275. NAID 110001071802.
- Ueno N (1995). "GEOMAGNETIC PALEOINTENSITY EXPERIMENT ON IGNEOUS AND METAMORPHIC ROCKS FROM ENDERBY LAND IN NAPIER COMPLEX, ANTARCTICA". Proceedings of the National Institute of Polar Research Symposium on Antarctic Geosciences 8. National Institute of Polar Research. pp. 193–200. NAID 110001071789.
- Australian Antarctic Names and Medals Committee (AANMC)
- Australian Antarctic Gazetteer
- United States Geological Survey, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
- Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)
- PDF Map of the Australian Antarctic Territory
- Mawson Station