Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
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.
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.
L. I. DUBROVIN