Ice cores were obtained in January 1990 from the land-fast ice in McMurdo Sound for a study of variations in texture, fabric, sub-structure, composition and development. Two primary ice types were observed, congelation and platelet, with a minor amount of frazil ice. Congelation ice growth precedes platelet-ice accretion. Congelation-ice fabrics show frequent moderate to strong alignments, a phenomenon believed to be due to water-current control of selective ice-crystal growth. Platelet ice originates at the base of the congelation ice, initially as a porous latticework of tabular ice crystals which subsequently consolidate by congelation of the interstitial water. Interstitial congelation-ice fabrics generally have little or no alignment, indicating the reduced effect of currents within the platelet latticework prior to solidification. Platelet-crystal textures range from small, wavy-edged forms to large, blade-like forms. Platelet-crystal fabrics indicate that, in addition to being randomly oriented, the platelet latticeworks commonly include many crystals with their flat (0001) faces oriented both parallel and normal to the base of the overlying ice. Plate-width data suggest that the interstitial congelation ice-growth rates remain similar to those of the overlying congelation ice. This effective increase in growth rates probably happens because the latticework of accumulating platelets ahead of the freezing interface ensures that the water within the platelet layer is at the freezing point and less heat has to be removed from platelet-rich water than from platelet-free water for a given thickness of congelation ice to grow. The negative oceanic heat flux associated with platelet-ice formation in McMurdo Sound explains why McMurdo Sound fast ice is thicker than Ross Sea pack ice, and also why it reaches a greater thickness than Arctic fast ice grown in a similar polar marine climate. Plate widths in the McMurdo Sound congelation ice suggest, however, that it grows no faster than Arctic congelation ice.