Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1990-91: VUWAE 35


page break



Antarctica New Zealand October 1990 - January 1991

page break


The aim and objectives of the WAVE programme are to understand better the volcanology of the late Cenozoic Volcanic Province of West Antarctica, to document in detail the chronology of individual volcanoes and to elucidate the petrogenesis of the magmas and their sources. In addition, xenoliths carried to the surface by volcanic processes would be used to reconstruct sections through the lithosphere.


Logistic planning for phase two of the WAVE programme had been established in June 1989. Further planning was undertaken at the Tekapo orientation meeting and final details decided at a briefing with VXE-6 in Mc Murdo.


Some equipment was transported to Scott Base as a part of the VUWAE shipment. Some equipment from the 1989/90 season had been stored over at Scott Base and in a sealed cage at Mc Murdo (BFC). No excess baggage was carried to or from Scott Base. Some 8001bs of rock samples were returned to New Zealand by Gamble for study at Victoria University.


Members of K-048 for the 1990/1991 field season to West Antarctica (Mount Murphy and Executive Committee Range) were as follows:
1)John Gamble, Dept of Geology, Victoria University of Wellington.
2)Bill Atkinson, Field Leader, 173 McKenzie Drive, Twizel.
3)John Smellie, British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, Cambridge, U.K.
4)Paul Rose, Field Leader, British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, Cambridge.

This party was augmented by personnel from USAP S-081: W.C. McIntosh and K.T.

Panter and P.R. Kyle and N.W. Dunbar (the latter 2 from 2nd January 1991).


The party (including S-081) assembled in Christchurch on 30th October 1990 and after a 24 hour cancellation due to bad weather at McMurdo, departed on 1st November 1990 for the ice. The flight was event free. Field equipment, tents, cooking equipment and provisions were assembled at Scott Base and McMurdo in the period 2nd to 8th November 1990. Recce flights planned on the 4th and 5th November were both cancelled due to poor weather in Marie Byrd Land. Skidoos page break and several of the sledges were tested during a number of short shake down trips along and over Hut Point Peninsula. Put-in to Mount Murphy was on 10th November 1990.


A detailed report on the effectiveness of the Bombadier Alpine 503 skidoos and sledges for transportation was presented in the 1989/90 WAVE report. Similar transport was used this season but fuel was air-dropped during the recce flight We can report that our mechanical equipment again performed well and few running repairs were necessary. Further details are included in the Field Leaders report (Appended as Appendix 2).


1st November 1990 WAVE party to Scott Base by C-141 transport.
2-8th November 1990 Event preparation, shake down trips and Recce flight (8th - 9th November).
10th November 1990 Put-in flight to south side of Mount Murphy Volcanic Complex. Travelled 10 km and established Camp 1. Clocks advanced 4.00 hours to MBL time.
11th November 1990 Time spent organising camp, fuel (which had been air dropped during recce flight)/ provisions, etc. Meteor sighted by JAG at midnight (MBL time) travelling in a W-E trajectory above Mt Murphy.
12th November 1990 Field work on Sechrist Ridge between Sechrist Peak and Bucher Peak. Rose and Atkinson returned to Put-in site to recover additional fuel. Route flagged on return.
13th November 1990 Field work at Petril Nunatak and Turtle Peak. Route flagged. Returned to camp early due to gathering storm.
14th November 1990 Storm all night with winds to 50 knots.
15th November 1990 Field work at Petril Nunatak, returned to camp at 6.00pm in white out and blowing snow.
16 November 1990 Awake to blowing snow after storm night, visibility down to zero.
17th-22nd November Storm. Time spent in and around camp.
23rd November 1990 Camp move to Camp 2 at Turtle Peak (75° 27′S, 111° 15′W), arriving at 9.30pm.
24th November 1990 Petril Peak section with JLS. Rose and Atkinson recce and page break flag route to Dorrel Rock.
25th November 1990 Work on Petril Peak on a beautiful day.
26th November 1990 Field work on summit section of Petril Nunatak. W Mc Intosh looses field book down crevasse.
27th November 1990 Mapping and measuring on the Sechrist amphitheatre with Mc Intosh and Panter.
28th November 1990 Mapping and collecting in area south of Sechrist Peak. Xenoliths collected from cone SW of Sechrist Peak.
29th November 1990 Section measuring at Heden Nunatak with JLS. Rose and Atkinson return to Camp 1 to recover fuel and provisions.
30th November 1990 Turtle Peak with Mcintosh and Panter.
1st December 1990 Dorrel Rock gabbro with Atkinson, Panter, Mcintosh via previously flagged route.
2nd December 1990 Rough night with gusts to 50 knots. Day spent organising gear for camp move tomorrow.
3rd December 1990 Camp move to North Bay and Camp 3, due East of Kay Peak (75° 14′S, 110° 50′W).
4th December 1990 Mapping and collecting west of Kay Peak. JLS found plant fossils in basement sediments. We map high grade metamorphics.
5th December 1990 Mapping on ridge south of Kay Peak with Mcintosh and Panter. Volcanics overlying basement metamorphics.
6th December 1990 Light snow falling and limited visibility. Tent day.
7th December 1990 Snow continued to fall over night and wind increased ~6.00 to 20 knots. Continued all day. Tent day.
8th December 1990 Wind dropped over night but visibility still v. poor. Wind kept switching direction throughout day.
9th December 1990 Camp move in near white-out conditions to a site near Benedict Peak. Camp 4 (75° 14′S, 110° 30′W) at Benedict Peak. Party undertook recon trip to Eisberg Head.
10-17th December 1990 Storm. Gusts up to 70 knots. USAP tent suffers structural damage, NZARP survival tent dissintegrates, several sledges suffer structural damage.
18th December 1990 Heavy snow falling in morning but wind has dropped. Camp move begun pm. Return to Camp 1.page break
19th December 1990 Arrive at Put-in site at 3.45am and sleep until noon Awake to a cloudy overcast day and spent time reorganising camp and packing gear and garbage.
20th December 1990 Field work on ridge between Sechrist and Bucher Peak but outcrop entirely snow covered following storm. Walked out all outcrops on ridge in search of xenolith localities. Visited new xenolith locality on Hawkins Peak (pm) discovered earlier by Mcintosh and Panter.
21-22nd December 1990 Put-in Camp site awaiting pickup.
23rd December 1990 Camp move to Camp 5 at Calendar Peak (). Party travelled "light" with 4 sledges and 3 skidoos. Fierce wind at Calendar.
24th December 1990 Return to put-in camp amid deteriorating weather conditions.
25 Dec - 2nd Jan 1991 Wind and blowing snow/variable visibility and occasional "holes" in the cloud cover. Tent days.
3rd January 1991 Wind dropped overnight and we were in a clearing "hole" by morning. LC-130 arrived at 8.45 pm and returned party to Byrd Surface Camp. 3 members of party returned to McMurdo and 3 moved to Mt Hampton being joined by 2 from S-081(Kyle and Dunbar).
3rd-4th January 1991 Put-in to Mt Hampton and arrival of BAS Twin Otter from Ford Ranges.
4th-6th January 1991 Mt Hampton and Whitney Peak.
6th January 1991 Gamble/ Atkinson and Panter return to NZ from Mc Murdo.
7th January 1991 Kyle and Dunbar to Mt Waesche by Twin Otter. Mcintosh, Smellie and Rose to USAS Escarpment.
9th January 1991 Kyle and Dunbar return from Waesche.
11th January 1991 Pick-up by LC-130 and return to Mc Murdo.
12-22nd January 1991 Smellie, Rose join members of S-081 on Mt Erebus.
27th January 1990 Smellie returns ot NZ.
31st January 1990 Rose erturns to NZ.
page break


A map is enclosed a Appendix 1 to this report. The map includes details of camp sites in the vicinity of Mount Murphy.


Full details of the weather are contained in the Appendix 3. Weather was again rather fickle and we were only able to work on 35% of the time spent at Mount Murphy. During this time we were blessed with a period of continuous fine weather which lasted 13 days but this intervened storms which lasted 8 days and then 13 days.


No serious accidents occurred during the field season although JAG sustained a bump on the head as a result of some inattentive skidoo driving by an unnamed individual.


Comments regarding the performance of the field equipment are contained in the report by the NZARP field leader. (Appendix 2).


Radio communicantions used USAP supplied Southcom transmitter-receivers and good communications were enjoyed with S. Pole, Mac Centre and CAZERTZ. Communications with Scott Base were non existent and we used K-051 to relay messages.

The Tait hand held radios performed perfectly as did the solar charging units. The USAP personnel brought Motorola hand helds and we were able to use the same frequency. Hand helds proved much more successful this season than the previous season.


This season all waste apart from human wastes (which was buried) was returned to McMurdo for disposal. Plastics, paper and metallic wastes were sorted at the putin site and packed in cardboard containers.