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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1973-74: VUWAE 18

[VUWAE 18 C,D,C]

At 1300 hrs. on 23rd November, Keys, R. Kyle, and McPherson were shifted by helo from Shapeless Mountain to a platform below the South face of Mt. Crean, in the Lashly Mountains. Two sections, measured and described by an earlier VUWAE party (Barrett and Kohn, 1971), were studied during the next 8 days by R. Kyle, and McPherson, whilst Keys collected salts throughout the region. High winds from the Polar Plateau confined the party to the camp site for 2 of the days.

On December 2, the party was shifted by helo to Aztec Mountain, where a camp was established for Keys and McPherson. R. Kyle went on to Scott Base. Heavy snowfalls (up to 6 cm), both prior to arrival and during the 5 day stay at Aztec Mountain, made geological work on anything but the vertical faces extremely difficult, more especially the salt collecting. However, a detailed study of sections described by VUWAE 13 (Barrett and Webb, 1973) was carried out.

A helo shift to Mt. Metschel was achieved on December 7, but high winds (up to 50 knots) made it necessary to put down approximately 1 km to the East of the Mountain. These high winds continued for much of the stay at Metschel, but did not greatly interfere with the detailed geological investigation of the area.

On December 13 the party was shifted to the Alligator Peak region, and excellent weather permitted 5 days of detailed geological re-examination of sections described by VUWAE's 13 and 15 (Askin et al., 1971; Barrett and Kohn, 1971; Barrett and Webb, 1973). An attempt at drilling some of the massive red beds for palaeomagnetic samples failed due to the highly fractured and friable nature of the material; however block samples were obtained.

A move by helo to Rotunda was made on December 19 and after establishing the camp, the helo lifted the party the 700 m to the top of the measured section at Rotunda (Askin et al., 1972; Barrett and Webb, 1973). Three successful days of geology were achieved before the return to Scott Base by helo on December 22. The return was via the snout of the Taylor Glacier, where a stop-off for 1 1/2 hours enabled Keys to make a study and collection of the Taylor Red Deposit (Allis et al., 1973), visited by him the previous season.