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The Edge Anglican church (originally St Alban's) in the northern Hobart suburb of Claremont has above its main altar a triptych stained glass window, a memorial to Robert Falcon Scott R.N. New information suggests that the designer/manufacturer was Auguste Fischer of Melbourne, a close associate of the church's architect, Alan Cameron Walker of Hobart. The window was promised by Mrs Edith Knight at the laying of the foundation stone of the church in July 1913, five months after Scott's death became known to the world. Lady Ellison-Macartney attended the ceremony. She was Scott's sister and wife of the recently appointed governor of Tasmania, Sir William Ellison-Macartney. Other members of Scott's family were also living in Hobart at the time. The Ellison-Macartneys and their daughter Esther attended the dedication of the window on 17 October 1915. Admiral E.R.G.R. Evans, second in command of Scott's expedition, spoke to The Royal Society of Tasmania on 29 March 1930, on the topic of Scott's last Antarctic venture.
A Pliocene (2.6–3.5 Ma) age is determined from glacial sediments studied in a 20 m long, 4 m deep trench excavated in Heidemann Valley, Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica. The age determination is based on a combined study of amino acid racemization, diatoms, foraminifera, and magnetic polarity, and supports earlier estimates of the age of the sedimentary section; all are beyond 14C range. Four till units are recognized and documented, and 16 subunits are identified. All are ascribed to deposition during a Late Pliocene glaciation that was probably the last time the entire Vestfold Hills was covered by an enlarged East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). Evidence for other more recent glacial events of the ‘Vestfold Glaciation’ may have been due to lateral expansion of the Sørsdal Glacier and limited expansion of the icesheet margin during the Last Glacial Maximum rather than a major expansion of the EAIS. The deposit appears to correlate with a marine deposition event recorded in Ocean Drilling Program Site 1166 in Prydz Bay, possibly with the Bardin Bluffs Formation of the Prince Charles Mountains and with part of the time represented in the ANDRILL AND-1B core in the Ross Sea.
Landforms of Marine Plain in the Vestfold Hills contrast with those of most in the Vestfold Hills. They include consistent land surfaces at 40+ m and 25 m, characteristics controlled by orientation of rock features, and imprints of phases of glaciation, deglaciation and marine and freshwater inundation. The 40+ m surface is widespread in the Vestfold Hills and has been noted previously. The 25 m level was an earlier coastline, is more localized and marked by water rounded boulders; it serves to differentiate clearly between two terrains of different relief and erratic distribution. The Pliocene sedimentary rocks below the 25 m level have been dislocated, probably during an interval of glaciotectonism caused by northward movement of sediments under an ice load due to northern extension of the Sørsdal Glacier or expansion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet some time after the mid-Pliocene. Soil development is active. These features are accompanied by the normal aspects of a glaciated landscape such as glacial striations, sand wedges, erratics, and patterned ground. Wind has been important in transporting sand and developing honeycomb weathering on exposed rock faces.
Well sorted, fine lithic sandstone within the Drygalski Formation at Cape Lockyer on the southern tip of Heard Island, preserves a diverse terrestrial palynoflora as well as marine diatoms and a few foraminifera. A combination of these elements suggests a Late Miocene age (10–5 Ma). The palaeovegetation was markedly different from that presently on the island, and appears to comprise at least two ecologically distinct communities: open heath or herbfield dominated by grasses and Asteraceae, and a more mesophytic community dominated by ferns but also including lycopods and angiosperms such as Gunnera. This may have represented a coastal flora similar to the ‘fern-bush’ community that exists now on Southern Ocean islands north of the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone, and in Tierra del Fuego; however, there is no evidence of tree species in the local flora and trace amounts of tree pollen present may have blown in from other landmasses in the region.
Austrochlamys heardensis (Fleming) is recorded from a boulder of Late Pliocene (3.62–2.5 Ma) volcaniclastic sandstone dredged 70 km east-north-east of Heard Island, the third record of the species. The collection is much larger than the original described by Fleming and includes left valves which are described for the first time. The species is compared with A. anderssoni (Hennig) from Cockburn Island and ‘Chlamys’ mawsoni Fletcher from Îles Kerguelen. The source rock accumulated in fully marine, highly current-affected conditions. The collection is dominated by right valves, possibly because left valves are more susceptible to breakage and the effects of current winnowing. The locality may have subsided some 500 m since deposition. It lies immediately north of a straight, north-east–south-west trending lineament which may mark a major tectonic feature with left-lateral displacement of approximately 50 km, and provides a natural boundary within the Central Province of Kerguelen Plateau.
Herbert Victor Goddard was second steward on the voyage of SY Aurora under Captain John King Davis, to retrieve Douglas Mawson and the remaining members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) from Commonwealth Bay in the summer of 1913–14. He kept a previously unpublished diary in pencil. He was on his first and only voyage working at sea and the diary records observations by an optimistic newcomer to the region. It gives the view of the voyage from eyes different from those of the leaders of the expedition, records the daily routine on-board, and documents a few incidents not covered in the formal reports of the expedition.
This review assesses the circumpolar occurrence of emerged marine macrofossils and sediments from Antarctic coastal areas in relation to Late Quaternary climate changes. Radiocarbon ages of the macrofossils, which are interpreted in view of the complexities of the Antarctic marine radiocarbon reservoir and resolution of this dating technique, show a bimodal distribution. The data indicate that marine species inhabited coastal environments from at least 35 000 to 20 000 yr BP, during Marine Isotope Stage 3 when extensive iceberg calving created a ‘meltwater lid’ over the Southern Ocean. The general absence of these marine species from 20 000 to 8500 yr BP coincides with the subsequent advance of the Antarctic ice sheets during the Last Glacial Maximum. Synchronous re-appearance of the Antarctic marine fossils in emerged beaches around the continent, all of which have Holocene marine-limit elevations an order of magnitude lower than those in the Arctic, reflect minimal isostatic rebound as relative sea-level rise decelerated. Antarctic coastal marine habitat changes around the continent also coincided with increasing sea-ice extent and outlet glacial advances during the mid-Holocene. In view of the diverse environmental changes that occurred around the Earth during this period, it is suggested that Antarctic coastal areas were responding to a mid-Holocene climatic shift associated with the hydrological cycle. This synthesis of Late Quaternary emerged marine deposits demonstrates the application of evaluating circum-Antarctic phenomena from the glacial-terrestrial-marine transition zone.
A marine survey in Prydz Bay, provides an unparalleled view of glacigenic and marine sedimentation across Prydz Channel and Amery Depression during the Late Quaternary. Gravity cores and a suite of eight radiocarbon dates indicate that the Late Wisconsin Glacial Maximum (LGM) was associated with grounding of a palaeo-ice shelf along the periphery of Prydz Channel. Deposition in front of the grounding line was dominated by ice-rafting. A granulated facies, containing angular clay and diamicton clasts, was producd by a combination of regelation freezing, near to the grounding line, and remelting of this basal debris in the sub-ice shelf setting. Beneath these LGM marine deposits lie two key beds of diatom ooze that are distinct in size sorting and Pliocene diatoms. These “interstadial” units can be traced across most of the Prydz Channel, and are underlain by additional glacial marine units. Debris related to the Lambert Deep is distinct from detritus from eastern Prydz Bay and deposition of these two sources within the channel oscillated during the LGM. We suggest that coastal drainage systems contributed to a limited glaciation of the shelf during the LGM, rather than direct outflow via the Lambert/Amery system. It is proposed that shelf-wide glaciation is related to the duration of glacial sea level lowstands rather than the absolute magnitude of eustatic fall during such episodes.
A single specimen of palinurid lobster, possibly Linuparus, from Pliocene rocks on Marine Plain, Princess Elizabeth Land, documents the only post-Miocene occurrence of decapod crustaceans in the Antarctic. The badly crushed, partial remains, probably an exuvia, are encrusted with the serpulid worm, Spirorbis Daudin.
Fossil marine diatom assemblages from the Sørsdal Formation, a deposit of diatomaceous sand from Marine Plain in the Vestfold Hills, provide age and palaeoenvironmental information from a Pliocene coastal setting in East Antarctica. Benthic and meroplanktic diatom taxa suggest deposition in a shallow coastal embayment with water depths of 20–25 m. Diatom biostratigraphy indicates that the Sørsdal Formation belongs to the Fragilariopsis barronii Zone (4.5 to 4.1 Ma), through correlation to reference sections in the Ross Sea and Southern Ocean. Features of the other biota suggest higher sea-surface temperatures and reduced sea-ice cover, consistent with global records of higher sea level.
The Sørsdal Formation and one member, Graveyard Sandstone Member constitute a sedimentary sequence covering approximately 10 km2 of Marine Plain, Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica. The new Formation consists dominantly of friable diatomaceous siltstone and sandstone with dark limestone lenses. It is in situ, essentially horizontal, 7.2 m thick in its type section and lies less than 25 m a.s.l. Graveyard Sandstone Member occurs near the top of the formation, is highly lithified sandy diamictite, 30–50 cm thick and widespread through the Marine Plain region. Using diatoms, the Formation is Early Pliocene in age (Fragilariopsis barronii, 4.5–4.1Ma). The Graveyard Sandstone Member probably was deposited during the Gilbert Chron interval (lower Chron 2Ar or C3n. 1r) of reversed magnetic polarity. The Sørsdal Formation contains fossil cetaceans and a diverse and well-preserved invertebrate fauna. Foraminifera are rare partly because of diagenesis, but include Ammoelphidiella antarctica. No evidence of coeval terrestrial vegetation has been recovered. The deposit accumulated in a series of small bays probably in an environment warmer than exists in the region today. There is no lithological evidence of glacial influence except in Graveyard Sandstone Member that may represent local glacial influence in a shallow marine to intertidal environment.
Australodelphis mirus (Delphinidae n. gen., n. sp) is a small extinct Early Pliocene dolphin known from five individuals from shallow-water strata of the Sørsdal Formation, Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica. Australodelphis mirus is the first higher vertebrate named from the Oligocene-Pleistocene interval on land in Antarctica, and is the first cetacean fossil from the polar margin of circum-Antarctic Southern Ocean that postdates the break-up of Gondwana. The dolphin is convergent in skull form with some living beaked whales (Mesoplodon spp.; Family Ziphiidae) in its long, narrow and toothless upper jaw and face, but skull suture patterns, basicranial sinuses, and ear-bones indicate close relationship with living long-beaked dolphins (Delphinidae). Australodelphis mirus perhaps was a suction-feeding squid-eater which occupied quiet near-shore shelf waters influenced by glaciers but probably lacking major sea-ice. Possible ecological equivalents of A. mirus (small ziphiids, long-beaked dolphins) do not occupy Antarctic waters today, perhaps excluded by cold conditions and/or sea-ice cover. Earlier Pliocene cetaceans worldwide reveal significant extinct and sometimes bizarre taxa, and extant families with ranges quite different from today, pointing to climate-related changes in cetacean ecology in the last 2–3 million years.
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