Transantarctic Mountains

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Transantarctic Mountains,

mountain chain stretching across Antarctica from Victoria Land to Coats Land; separating the E Antarctic and W Antarctic subcontinents. Mt. Markham (14,275 ft/4,351 m high), near the Ross Ice Shelf, is the highest peak. Its basement rocks, similar to rocks found in Australia, S Africa, and South America, give credibility to the theory of continental drift.

Transantarctic Mountains


a system of mountain ranges in Antarctica that has the structure of a large horst.

The Transantarctic Mountains extend for nearly 4,000 km from the east coast of the Weddell Sea to the west coast of the Ross Sea and form the boundary between East and West Antarctica. The system includes the Pensacola, Thiel, Horlick, and Queen Maud mountains, as well as the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Alexandra ranges. It is 200 to 600 km wide and 2,000 to 3,000 m high; the maximum elevation is 4,530 m (Mount Kirkpatrick in the Queen Alexandra Range).

The basement of the Transantarctic Mountains is composed of metamorphic Precambrian rocks, such as schists, gneisses, quartzites, marbles, and amphibolites. The overlying portion consists of Lower Paleozoic sedimentary and igneous rocks (such as phyllites, sandstones, and conglomerates), and this is capped mainly by Middle and Upper Paleozoic and Mesozoic sandstones and shales, along with Mesozoic gabbro and diabase intrusions known as the Beacon Series. Hard coal deposits are associated with this series.

The Transantarctic Mountains were first seen by the British expedition of J. Ross in 1841 in Victoria Land. The mountain ranges in the interior of Antarctica were discovered by the British expeditions of R. Scott in 1903 and E. Shackleton in 1909, by R. Amundsen’s Norwegian expedition in 1911, and by later expeditions.


References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: The Transantarctic Mountains stretch 3,500 kilometers between the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea and form the boundary between East Antarctica and West Antarctica.
The latest models based on integrated geophysical analysis assume that multiple mechanisms have contributed to the uplift of the Transantarctic Mountains (cf.
The team, comprising Luigi Folco and Matthias van Ginneken from the University of Siena, Italy, and Phil Bland from Imperial College London, UK, now conclude that the Dome C and Dome Fuji dust layers are also paired with debris from the Transantarctic Mountains.
If the latter, a sea level increase from global warming factors could lift the West Antarctica ice sheet enough to snap the "moorings" to the Transantarctic Mountains.
The most fruitful expeditions have been at various sites along the spectacular Transantarctic Mountain chain.
Achernar in the central Transantarctic Mountains, are at about 82 degrees south latitude.
The massive WAIS covers the continent on the Pacific side of the Transantarctic Mountains.
44-billion-year-old zircons in rocks from the Transantarctic Mountains match those in zircons in the granites now found primarily in North America, which includes the landmass that was called Laurentia.
But some of Antarctica's mountain ranges (like the Transantarctic Mountains, see map) block the flow of ice toward the sea.
15, 2003, on an ice field in the Transantarctic Mountains, about 750 kilometers from the South Pole.
The Antarctic continent is usually subdivided into East and West Antarctica, with the Transantarctic Mountains marking the division.
Kirkpatrick in the Transantarctic Mountains, about 650 kilometers from the present-day South Pole.

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