Evidence for one late Eocene and four middle Oligocene eruptions of Mount Petras, Marie Byrd Land provides new insights into reconstructions of middle Tertiary ice sheet configurations, surface topography, and volcanism in West Antarctica. The interpretation presented here of the volcanic record at Mount Petras, based on detailed analyses of lithofacies, petrography, 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, and geochemistry, is significantly different from previous interpretations based on reconnaissance studies. A massive, 25 m thick, mugearite lava near the summit of Mount Petras is 40Ar/39Ar dated to 36.11 ± 0.22 Ma (2 σ uncertainty), indicating an onset of Cenozoic alkaline volcanism in the Marie Byrd Land Volcanic Province in latest Eocene time. Middle Oligocene (29-27 Ma) hawaiite volcaniclastic lithofacies at Mount Petras are interpreted as products of mixed magmatic (Strombolian style) and phreatomagmatic (Surtseyan style) subaerial eruptions. The four hawaiite outcrop areas exhibit characteristics of near-vent tuff cone environments. The near-vent deposits are located at different elevations and positions on Mount Petras and suggest four separate eruptive centres, with eruptions dated to between 28.59 ± 0.22 Ma and 27.18 ± 0.23 Ma. The mixed Surtseyan and Strombolian eruptions imply local or intermittent contact with external water, which we infer was derived from melting of a thin, local ice cap or ice and snow on slopes. The 29-27 Ma volcanic deposits at Mount Petras provide the oldest terrestrial evidence for glacial ice in Marie Byrd Land. The 29-27 Ma tuff cone deposits overlie an erosional unconformity, with > 400 m of topographic relief. The relatively high relief pre-volcanic environment is suggestive of ongoing erosion and is inconsistent with previous interpretations of a regional, low relief, early Cenozoic West Antarctic Erosion Surface.