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Dataset - Glacial geology of Northern and Central Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land

Van der Wateren, Dr. F.M. ; Verbers, A.L.L.M.; Dunai, Dr. T.J.; Passchier, Dr. S. (2001). Glacial geology of Northern and Central Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land. (v1) Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Published by Vrije Universiteit.
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Separate regions within the Transantarctic Mountains, the uplifted flank of the West Antarctic rift system, appear to have distinct Neogene histories of glaciation and valley downcutting. Incision of deep glacial outlet valleys occurred at different times throughout central and northern Victoria Land. This is corroborated by measurements of cosmogenic nuclides 21Ne, 10Be and 26Al of glacial erosion surfaces and high-elevated moraines. 21Ne ages of two summit plateaus, at elevations of 1650 m in central Victoria Land and ~2800 m in northern Victoria Land, range from 3.84 to 11.2 Ma, respectively. The latter date indicates that these glacial erosion surfaces are the oldest known exposure dated surfaces on Earth. Glacial erosion terraces, remnants of early phases of valley downcutting, have 21Ne ages of 1.27 and 6.45 Ma for central Victoria Land and northern Victoria Land, respectively. Therefore, deglaciation of summit plateaus, valley downcutting and topographic uplift occurred during the mid Miocene in northern Victoria Land and not earlier than the mid Pliocene in central Victoria Land. In northern Victoria Land ice flow directions changed markedly from the time a regional ice sheet occupied the level of the highest summits to the present condition with summits rising up to 800 above the valley glaciers. In central Victoria Land the oldest documented ice flow direction occupying the summit erosion surface prior to incision was SW-NE, draining the East Antarctic Ice Sheet along an outlet glacier at least ten times as wide as the present E-W flowing David Glacier. This great variation in denudation histories probably results from differential tectonic uplift of various regions within the presently active rift flank. Three tectonic processes contribute to late Neogene uplift, (1) ongoing extension in adjacent Ross Sea rift basins, (2) regional dextral transtension following SE trending Precambrian and Palaeozoic structural trends which offsets the ~N-S trending grain of the rift and reactivates earlier faults, and (3) isostatic response to valley downcutting and related denudation.

Temporal coverage


1 January 1988 to 31 December 1999

Paleo temporal coverage


11 Ga


29 Ga

Chronostratigraphic unit

  • Phanerozoic > Cenozoic > Quaternary
  • Phanerozoic > Cenozoic > Neogene
  • Phanerozoic > Cenozoic > Neogene > Pliocene
  • Phanerozoic > Cenozoic > Neogene > Miocene

PlatformIn Situ Land-based Platforms > Field Surveys (field Surveys)
InstrumentIn Situ/laboratory Instruments > Spectrometers/radiometers > Mass Spectrometers (mass Spectrometers)

Originating center

VU University Amsterdam



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Dataset progress


Data quality

For surface exposure dating quartz samples have been collected from glacial striated erosion surfaces for which we assumed zero erosion following first exposure. Samples were routinely processed for 10Be and 26Al tandem accelerator mass spectrometry (ETH Z|rich) and 21Ne noble gas mass spectrometry (VU Amsterdam). Altitudes were measured above sea level.

Access constraints

Available for scientific research, contact A. Lankreijer.

Use constraints

Available for scientific research, contact A. Lankreijer.


No projects linked to this dataset yet


van der Wateren, F.M., Dunai, T.J., et al., 1999. Contrasting Neogene denudation histories of different structural regions in the Transantarctic Mountains rift flank constrained by cosmogenic isotope measurement. Global and Planetary Change 23 (1), 145-172

van der Wateren, F.M. & Verbers, A.L.L.M., 1999. Feedbacks of lithosphere dynamics and environmental change of the Cenozoic West Antarctic Rift System. Global and Planetary Change 23 (1), 1-24

Hindmarsh, R., van der Wateren, F.M., & Verbers, A.L.L.M., 1998. Sublimation of ice through sediment in Beacon Valley, Antarctica. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography 80 (3-4), 209-219

Passchier, S., Verbers, A.L.L.M., et al., 1998. Provenance, geochemistry and grain-sizes of glacigene sediments, including the Sirius Group, and Late Genozoic Glaciol history of the southern Prince Albert Mountains, Victoria Land, Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology 27 (1), 290-296

van der Wateren, F.M., Verbers, A.L.L.M., et al., 1996. Glaciation and deglaciation of the uplifted margins of the Cenozoic West Antarctic rift system, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Geologisches Jahrbuch Reihe B (6), 123-156

van der Wateren, F.M. & Hindmarsh, R., 1995. Stabilists strike again. Nature 376 (6539), 389-391

van der Wateren, F.M., Luyendyk, B.P., et al., 1994. Landscape Evolution Model of the West Antarctic Rift System Relating Tectonic and Climatic Evolutions of the Rift Margins. Terra Antarctica 1 (2)

van der Wateren, F.M. & Verbers, A.L.L.M., 1992. Cenozoic glacial geology and mountain uplift in northern Victoria Land. Antarctic earth sciences , 707-714

Verbers, A.L.L.M. & van der Wateren, F.M., 1992. A glacio-geological reconnaissance of the southern Prince Albert Mountains, Victoria Land, Antarctica. Recent Progress in Antarctic Earth Science , 715-719


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Dif id: NL_ANTARCTIC_GLACIAL_GEOLOGY | UUID: d5a6d9e4-ac03-5106-8930-a161dd89b809 | Version:1 | Added on: 8 June 2001 16:35