Site Information

Site number:
Date recorded:
Reason Sampled:
Soil temperature recording site; continuous 2 year record at 6 depths; site sampled for soil moisture at the time of recovery of the recording equipment
Approximately 4.2km NW of Marble Point peninsula and approximately 300m W of the Marble Point Air Facility; about 400m from the Wilson Piedmont Glacier; a slightly hummocky moraine surface with low knolls up to about 2m high; the site is on a gentle slope below the crest of the knoll
75 m
3 °
Location Data
Observer GGC IBC
Latitude Longitude DMS 76° 46.6' S 160° 44.5' E 77° 24.93' S 166° 40.26' E
Latitude Longitude DD -76.7767 160.742 -77.41550 166.67100
Latitude longitude precision DD 0.0008 0.004 0.00008 0.00008
Locality Marble Point, western McMurdo Sound
Survey US Geological Survey Antarctica Topo Ser 1:50,000; Marble Point, Antarctica


Soil climate zone:
Coastal Antarctic
Site temperature profile
Depth (cm)Soil temp (°C)Notes
0 0
Estimated mean annual temperature:
-18 °C
Frozen ground depth:
65 cm
Frozen type:
Hard ice-cemented
Frozen comment:


Geological setting:
The surface is a gently undulating till plain formed by retreat of the Wilson Piedmont Glacier; the Marble Point region is an old landscape, with deposits of phillipsite, buried soils and oxidised gneiss, which have been covered by advances of the grounded Ross Ice Shelf; later ice retreat and glaciological features have been controlled by changes in the stranded Wilson Piedmont Glacier; the till mantle is patchy and dominated largely by locally occurring rocks; granodiorite, granite, marble, gneiss, and dolerite are the main rock types present
Patterned ground:
Weakly developed 12-15m nets with 10cm troughs; cracks are open
Surface weathering or surface features:
Coarse clasts angular but with slight abrasion; coarse grained granite and marble are crumbly; some basement rocks with distinct surface oxidation


Soil parent material:
till with 70-80% coarse material from predominantly granitic rocks
Previous disturbance:
Extensive mechanical and human activity in the region since the mid-1950's; the site was disturbed in 1991 when soil temperature recording began
Soil weathering stage:
6 1 (Campbell & Claridge 1975)
Soil moisture status:
The site is presently dry with no adjacent snow
Biological activity:
Mosses in moist hollows and incipient water channels; cyanobacteria in ponded areas; nil observed at the site
Profile Description
811a 3-0cm; surface granular to bouldery gravel; angular and dominantly unstained; some light grey (2.5Y 7/2) carbonate coatings,
811b 0-3cm; pale olive (5Y 6/3) sandy pebble and cobble gravel; loose; rock particles angular and unstained but some with light pre-oxidation; distinct boundary,
811c 3-15cm; pale olive (5Y 6/3) sandy pebble and cobble gravel; loose; a few carbonate coatings and some silt coatings; rock particles angular and unstained; indistinct boundary,
811d 15-35cm; pale olive (5Y 6/3) cobbly gravel; weakly cohesive; some silt coatings; rock particles angular to subangular and unstained; distinct boundary,
811e 50-65cm pale olive (5Y 6/3) bouldery gravel; weakly cohesive; some silt coatings; rock particles angular and unstained; sharp boundary;
811f pale olive (5Y 6/3) bouldery gravel; weakly cohesive; rock particles angular and unstained, sharp boundary, on ice-cemented ground

Sample Data

Physical Data
Sample nameDepth descriptionTop (cm)Base (cm)Bulk DensityDry Bulk DensityGravimetric MoistureVol. Moisture (BD=2)
811a 3-0cm; Yes
811b 0-3cm; Yes
811c 3-15cm; Yes
811d 15-35cm; Yes
811e 35-50cm; Yes
811f Yes
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
811a :
811b :
811c :
811d :
811e :
811f :


Photo record: