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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1970-71: VUWAE 15


page 19


Detailed results and discussion of the scientific work carried out by the expedition will be published in scientific journals. A general summary of the expedition has appeared in the Victoria University of Wellington GAZETTE and a summary has also been submitted to ANTARCTIC (the journal of the N. Z. Antarctic Society).

The scientific work carried out by the expedition is outlined below:-
1.Detailed geological sections measured with Jacob staff and abney level at
  • West Beacon
  • Mt. Metschel (2 sections)
  • NW Alligator Ridge (2 sections)
  • Allemand Peak
  • Southern Warren Range (3 sections)
  • Portal Mountain (3 sections)
  • Lashly Mountains (3 sections)
  • Tabular Mountain
  • Horseshoe Mountain
  • Mt. Dearborn
  • Mt. Suess
  • Wheeler Valley (3 sections)
  • Vashka Crag area (4 sections)
  • Mt. Jason
  • Mt. Boreas
  • SW end Balham Valley
  • Island Arena area (8 sections)
  • NE side Hatherton Glacier (4 sections)
Detailed collections of rock samples for petrographic and chemical analysis were made from all sections measured.
2.Discovery of the richest deposits of fish fossil remains ever found in Antarctica. The fish fossils, which are Devonian in age (approx. 350 million years old), consisted of complete specimens of ray-finned and spiny-finned fish, jaws, armour plates, skull plates, fin spines and teeth of armoured and lobe finned, air breathing fish. These remains occur in the red, green and grey Aztec Siltstone. Many new fish localities were found and the fish jaw observed by VUWAE 13 was recovered from northern Warren Range.
3.Discovery of primitive plants, roots and stems in the red, green and grey fish-bearing beds (Aztec Siltstone) and the recognition of associated soil horizonspage 20
4.Discovery of the first Permian glacial striations in Victoria Land. The discovery of an ancient glacial-filled valley with related thin basalts and similar lavas in adjacent Aztec Siltstone will hopefully allow us to date the Permian glaciation and the age of the fish-bearing beds by radioactive methods.
5.Plant collections which include the best preserved Glossopteris and Dicroidium leaves yet found in Victoria Land. The collection of an excellent suite of samples from carbonaceous beds for spore and pollen analysis was also made. Spores and pollens can give a far more precise age to the strata than can the leaves, despite their excellent preservation. Previous attempts to obtain pollens and spores have been largely frustrated because in most places dolerite sills have heated the rock to as much as 750°C and burnt the carbonaceous material. Although we cannot be certain as yet if the samples collected contain microfloras, the chances are good because there was so little dolerite at the localities sampled.
Devonian lycopod stems were also collected from West Beacon.
6.Samples were collected from the rhythmic banded Mt. Warren dolerite sill, other dolerite sills and the volcaniclastic rocks of the Allan Hills area were also examined. Special attention was paid to the method of injection of all dolerites examined during the season.
7.Geological data over some 8,000 square miles of Victoria Land has been gathered and will be used for map compilation at a scale of 1:250,000 (and 1:50,000 in some areas). The sheet covering the Skelton Neve (Mt. Harmsworth) is now almost completely covered. Large parts of the Convoy Range and Taylor Glacier sheets have been completed, while the Carlyon Glacier-Turnstile Ridge sheets are only partially mapped, but it is hoped that coverage of these sheets will be completed in future seasons.

As a result of this summer's work much data has been added to our knowledge of Beacon Supergroup stratigraphy and the Ferrar Group in the Southern Victoria Land-Darwin Mountains area. Mapping started by earlier VUWAE expeditions has been extended, new data has been added, and a better understanding of the paleogeography of these areas is now emerging.