Cretaceous-Tertiary high-latitude palaeoenvironments: James Ross Basin, Antarctica: introduction

The James Ross Basin, at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, provides the thickest and best-exposed onshore Cretaceous and Early Tertiary sedimentary succession in Antarctica. When compared with other onshore sections, it is clear that the area has a much broader significance as a key reference section for the Cretaceous and Early Tertiary throughout the Southern Hemisphere. The sedimentary record exposed within the basin also provides an unrivalled opportunity to unlock the record of climate change and biotic response within a high-palaeolatitude setting.James Ross Island was first visited during the heroic age of polar exploration at the start of the 20th century. Swedish geologist Otto Nordenskjöld sailed into the region in 1901 in his ship Antarctic, captained by explorer and sealer Carl Larsen. Plans to spend a year in the region for scientific exploration went disastrously wrong when his ship sank near Paulet Island, forcing Nordenskjöld to spend over 2 years in a small hut on Snow Hill Island. Members of his ship-wrecked party survived in horrific conditions, with only penguins for food and small stone huts for shelter at Hope Bay, at the tip of Trinity Peninsula, and also on Paulet Island.Nordenskjöld’s enforced stay in the area was, however, not unprofitable. In 1902 he and his five companions made trips over the sea ice to Seymour Island, where they made the first important fossil discoveries, including the bones of giant penguins (now known to be from the Eocene La Meseta Formation). This was well before Scott’s

Details

Publication status:
Published
Author(s):
Editors: Francis, J.E., Pirrie, D., Crame, J.A.

On this site: J. Crame
Date:
1 January, 2006
Journal/Source:
In: Francis, J.E., Pirrie, D., Crame, J.A. (eds.). Cretaceous-Tertiary high-latitude palaeoenvironments: James Ross Basin, Antarctica, London, Geological Society of London, 206 pp.
Page(s):
206pp / 1-5