About Enderby Land




Enderby Land... in Antarctica

Enderby Land is located in Antarctica, the ice covered continent of the South Pole. Almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. With its 14.0 million km2, it is the fifth-largest continent in area, so twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice with a 1.6 km averaged thickness, which represents 90% of the total ice of the earth.

Antarctica is the continent of the records: the coldest - driest - windiest - highest average elevation of all the continents.  It's considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast and far inland. The minimum temperature there has reached the -89°C in Vostok the 21rst of July 1983. There are no permanent human residents, but from 1000 to 5000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Excepted some well covered humans, only cold-adapted organisms survive there, including many types of algae, animals (as nematodes, penguins, seals...) bateria, fungi and plants.

The first confirmed sighting of the continent is commonly accepted to have occured in 1820, by the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazrev on Vostok and Mirny. The continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of resources and isolation. The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by 12 countries. Australia is responsible of a large portion of the Antarctic continent, from the border of the French Antarctic Territory (Terre Adélie, with the Dumont d'Urville station) to the Western part of the Enderby Land, East of the Japanese Syowa station. So, here we are...

The closest station is Mawson (500 km away), being the oldest station south of the polar circle that is lived in all year round. It's location on the Western part of the Australian Antarctic Territory is making it difficult to access. The Aurora Australis ship usually visit Mawson two or three times each year.



Antarctica Map and the location of the different stations.


Enderby Land is a projecting land mass of Antarctica, extending from Shinnan Glacier at about 67°55′S 44°38′E to William Scoresby Bay at 67°24′S 59°34′E. It was discovered in February 1831 by John Biscoe in the whaling brig Tula, and named after the Enderby Brothers of London, owners of the Tula, who encouraged their captains to combine exploration with sealing.

Claimed as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory, geographic features of Enderby Land include Amundsen Bay, Casey Bay, the Scott Mountains, the Tula Mountains, and the Napier Mountains. The highest peak isMount McMaster at 2,830 metres.


Enderby Land, Antarctica. MODIS Image. copyright NASA 2011.


In the present context of sea level rise and changing climate, assessing whether Antarctica regions are loosing or gaining mass is a main topic. As Enderby Land is a hard access region makes it poorly known. This project will tend to fill those gaps and help to estimate Enderby Land mass balance and its contribution to sea level rise.

> Antarctica - A general introduction

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