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Pared-down landscapes in Antarctica

The frigid-arid climate that now prevails in ice-free parts of Victoria Land, Antarctica, inhibits glacial erosion. If certain landscapes, more or less remote from the great troughs of outlet glaciers, have been glaciated in the past, as seems very probable, landforms that resulted from glaciation have been replaced by surfaces of different origin. A widespread landscape glaciation was probably contemporaneous with the excavation of large cirques which still survive in mountain summit areas. Replacement of glaciated landforms by others, in a general paring down of the land surface to forms of moderate relief, seems to have resulted from the process of gravity removal of debris from precipitous rock outcrops that were retreating because of disintegration by salt weathering and were eventually eliminated, in most cases, so that the landscape became a mosaic of smooth denudation slopes inclined at 33° to 350. In the Darwin Mountains ice-free area (80ºS) an advanced stage of such denudation with respect to a base level some 400 m above the present level of surrounding glaciers has produced some pyramidal landforms. Just above the present ice level, however, narrow Richter denudation slopes that border weathering rock faces are at only a juvenile stage of development. Thus the ice level appears to have stood alternately at about its present position and 400 m higher in Pleistocene interglacials and glacial ages respectively. The higher ice levels must have been due to extensions of the ice sheet seaward caused by groundings of the shelf ice during low glacio-eustatic stands of sea level
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Earth Science Journal
Cotton, C.A. & Wilson, A.T. (1971). Pared-down landscapes in Antarctica. Earth Science Journal, 5(1), 1-15.
Waikato Geological Society, The University of Waikato
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