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Mountain conservation in the Antarctic Treaty System

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Kriwoken, L (1996) Mountain conservation in the Antarctic Treaty System. In: Mountains of East Asia and the Pacific. Centre for Mountain Studies, Lincoln University, New Zealand, New Zealand, pp. 20-24. ISBN 0-86476-090-6

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Abstract

Antarctica, the fifth largest continent, covers almost 14 M km2 and extends to 20 M km2 as sea ice develops in the austral winter..Some 98 percent of the continent scovered by ice with an average thickness of 2450m. The icecap gives Antarctica the greatest average elevation of all continents at 2300 m (the Australian continent averages 340 m). The highest elevation on the icecap rises to a height of 4100 m. The continent is divided into two regions by the mainly exposed Transantarctic Mountains extending some 3500 km from Cape Adare to isolated ranges close to the Filchner Ice Shelf (Drewry 1987). East of the Transantarctic Mountains is East or Greater Antarctica, a Precambrian shield almost completely covered by an ice sheet. The Gamburtsev Mountains are the largest within the continental interior and rise to 3800 m. West of the Transantarctic Mountains lies West or Lesser Antarctica, characterised by various mountain ranges such as the Ellsworth Mountains, mountain massifs found along the Pacific coast, and the rugged Antarctic Peninsula. It is here, adjacent to the Ronne Ice Shelf, in the Ellsworth Mountains, that the highest mountain, Mt. Vinson (4897 m), is located. The Ellsworth region (discussed later) was considered in 1976 as "being perhaps the last extensive unexplored area on earth ... " with scientific studies at the time adding 38 000 km2 to the land area of Antarctica (Swithinbank et al. 1976, p.295). The Rutford Ice Sheet which is dammed up and diverted around the northern end of the Ellsworth Mountains, consists of floating ice 1860 m thick; the thickest ice ever found floating on the sea. Within 60 km of Mt. Vinson a trench extends some 1600 m below sea level (Swithinbank et al, 1976).

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Mountain ecosystems; Antarctica; Antarctic Treaty System; Protected Area Management; Human Impacts
Publisher: Centre for Mountain Studies, Lincoln University, New Zealand
Page Range: pp. 20-24
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2008 01:40
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:31
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/3544
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