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Report on the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition 1960-61: VUWAE 4

General Statement

General Statement

The primary mission of the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition, 1960-61, was to investigate the geology of the ice-free terrain bordering the western edge of the Koettlitz Glacier. Early reconnaissance expeditions had indicated the presence of three roughly parallel bands of rock in this area: a strip of deformed and metamorphosed sedimentary rocks closest to the coast, a belt of granites farther inland and finally a belt of younger sediments and dol rites constituting the Royal Society Range. The first two comprise the so-called “basement complex;” it is with these rocks that the present expedition was chiefly concerned.

Using the base map compiled by Trans-Antarctic Expedition survey parties at a scale of four miles to the inch, and aerial photographs taken by the U.S. Navy, geologists of the expedition mapped about 500 square miles of largely ice-free territory during the field season. The main accomplishments were, in addition to completion of the mapping programme, establishment of a metamorphic stratigraphy and analysis of the relation of the granitic rocks to the metasediments. Rocks of the Beacon series and Ferrar dolerites in the Royal Society Range were reached at two localities; field studies were also made of Quaternary volcanics present in the southern half of the area. Observations on glacial geomorphology and surficial deposits were made throughout, particularly by the senior members of the expedition working in coastal areas.