Site Information

Site number:
Date recorded:
Reason Sampled:
Soil weathering examination
The Darwin Mountains, just to the south of the Midnight Plateau; on a flat moderately bouldery surface to the south of the Midnight Plateau ice and snow front; approximately 100m to the south of site 439
1650 m
0 °
Location Data
Observer IBC GGC
Latitude Longitude DMS 79° 57' S 156° 17' E 79° 57' S 156° 16' E
Latitude Longitude DD -79.950 156.283 -79.950 156.267
Latitude longitude precision DD 0.008 0.008 0.008 0.008
Locality Hatherton Glacier, Darwin Mountains, Transantarctic Mountains
Survey United States Geological Survey 1966; 1:250,000 Carlyon Glacier, Antarctica


Soil climate zone:
Central Mountain
Estimated mean annual temperature:
-35 °C
Frozen ground depth:
29 cm
Frozen type:
Hard ice-cemented
Frozen comment:


Geological setting:
Rock outcrops on the area are Ferrar Dolerite; the ground surfaces have been exposed following retreat of ice from the Midnight Plateau; close to the ice edge, the soils appear less weathered but distinct successional surfaces marking ice retreat are not present; with increasing distance away from the ice front, soil weathering increases; the weathering is probably relict and unrelated to the present ice cover; sandstone erratics may indicate the presence of till derived from the Hatherton Glacier rather than the Midnight Plateau
Patterned ground:
Inactive broad nets;
Surface weathering or surface features:
Surface rocks are moderately rounded, strongly stained and moderately pitted; active surface exfoliation of weathering rhinds; sandstone clasts mainly unoxidised; a moderately developed pavement between bouldery clasts; some weak to moderate ventiforms


Soil parent material:
Gravelly till from dolerite with some sandstone
Previous disturbance:
Soil weathering stage:
6 4 (Campbell & Claridge 1975)
Soil moisture status:
Scattered snow patches but little ablation against rock surfaces; no thaw or soil moistening
Biological activity:
Nil observed
Profile Description
439a -1 – 0 cm surface small pebbles and granular sand between medium boulders; rock particles angular to subangular, moderately to strongly stained and moderately altered,
439b 0 – 2 cm brown (7.5YR 5/4) granular gravel; moderately cohesive; a distinct surface crust with moderately developed vesicular structure; rock particles subangular to subrounded, moderately stained and weakly to moderately altered; indistinct boundary,
439c 2 – 8 cm brown (7.5YR 5/4) sandy stony sandy gravel; weakly cohesive; few to many diffuse salts; some particles with distinct silt coatings; rock particles subangular to subrounded, moderately stained and weakly to moderately altered; some larger particles fragmented; some ghosts with abundant salts on rock fragments; distinct boundary,
439d 8 – 29 cm yellowish brown (10YR 5/6) bouldery sandy gravel; loose; many ghosts; larger rock particles angular and unstained but smaller particles weakly to moderately stained and partly altered; sharp boundary,
439e 29 – 34 cm yellowish brown (10YR 5/6 - 5/4) ice-cemented ground

Sample Data

Physical Data
Sample nameDepth descriptionTop (cm)Base (cm)Bulk DensityDry Bulk DensityGravimetric MoistureVol. Moisture (BD=2)
439a 1-0cm -1.0 0.0 No
439b 0-2cm 0.0 2.0 No
439c 2-8cm 2.0 8.0 No
439d 8-29cm 8.0 29.0 No
439e 29-34cm 29.0 34.0 No
Particle size distribution
Sample name< 2 mm2 - 0.5 mm0.5 - 0.25 mm0.25 - 0.1 mm0.1 - 0.05 mm0.05 - 0.02 mm0.02 - 0.002 mm< 0.002 mmFe2O3CaCO3Notes
Clay Mineralogy
439a :
439b :
439c :
439d :
439e :
National Soil Archive Samples
Sample nameNSA Sample IdContainer typeFraction type
439a M22/2739 medium coarse
439a M22/2740 White lid small fine
439a M22/7637 Glass vial metal lid
439b M22/2741 White lid small coarse
439b M22/2742 medium fine
439b M22/7638 Glass vial metal lid
439c M22/2743 White lid small coarse
439c M22/2744 medium fine
439c M22/7639 Glass vial metal lid
439d M22/2745 White lid small coarse
439d M22/2746 medium fine
439d M22/7640 Glass vial metal lid


Photo record: