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The Napier Mountains are a group of more-or-less separated peaks, the highest being Mount Elkins, at about 2,300 meters above sea level. This mountain range is located in Enderby Land, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, East Antarctica.



A subsidiary of the Enderby Land Coast Ranges, the Napier Mountains are located roughly 4 degrees west of Cape Boothby, Edward VIII Bay and Edward VIII Ice Shelf, and 3.5 degrees east of Amundsen Bay. The Napier Mountains are centered about 64 km south of Cape Batterbee in Enderby Land, East Antarctica. It extends about 64 km in a NW-SE direction from Mount Codrington, and also includes Mount Kjerringa, and the Young Nunataks.

The Enderby Land Coast Ranges are considered to be a subset of their parent ranges, the Wilkes Land Coast Ranges. The Wilkes Land Coast Ranges are, in turn, a subsidiary of their parent ranges, the East Antarctica Ranges.


The Napier Mountains were discovered in January 1930 by the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) under Sir Douglas Mawson. They were named by Mawson after the Hon. Sir John Mellis Napier, a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, 1924-42 and Chief Justice of South Australia, 1942-67. This mountain range was first visited by an ANARE party in 1960. Members of this party included Syd Kirkby and Terence James Elkins.

Geology and orogeny

The Napier orogeny is among the oldest on the planet. The oldest crustal components found to date in the Napier Complex appear to be of igneous derivation. Some of the zircons collected from its orthogneisses are among the oldest rock specimens found on Earth at 3950 – 3970 Ma. The orogenic events which resulted in the formation of the Napier Complex (including Mount Elkins) have been dated to the Archaean eon. More specifically, the oldest tectonothermal event is currently believed to have occurred approximately 2837 ± 15 million years ago, using SHRIMPU–Pb zircon dating methodology.[1] The Napier orogeny is characterized by high-grade metamorphism. Billions of years of erosion and tectonic deformation have exposed the metamorphic rock core of these mountains.


  1. ^ New Evidence for the Early Archean Evolution of Aker Peaks Napier Mountains Enderby Land (East Antarctica), by B. V. Belyatsky et al., USGS Open-File Report 2007-1047
  • Lu-Hf Systematics of the Ultra-High Temperature Napier Complex East Antarctica: Evidence for the Early Archean Differentiation of Earth’s Mantle, by S. B. Mukasa et al. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 246, Issue 3-4, p. 305-316. abstract
  • SHRIMP and electron microprobe chronology of UHT metamorphism in the Napier Complex, East Antarctica; implications for zircon growth at›1,000ฐC, by T. Hokada, et al. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, Volume 147, Issue 1, p. 1-20. abstract
  • Osumilite-Producing Reactions in High Temperature Granulites from the Napier Complex, East Antarctica: Tectonic Implications, by B. J. HENSEN and Y. MOTOYOSHI. Recent Progress in Antarctic Earth Science, Edited by Y. Yoshida et al., pp. 87-92. (Terra Scientific Publishing Company, Tokyo, 1992). article
  • GEOMAGNETIC PALEOINTENSITY EXPERIMENT ON IGNEOUS AND METAMORPHIC ROCKS FROM ENDERBY LAND IN NAPIER COMPLEX, ANTARCTICA, by Ueno Naoko. Proceedings of the National Institute of Polar Research Symposium on Antarctic Geosciences, Volume 8, pp. 193-200.article

External links

Coordinates: 66°30′S 53°40′E / 66.5°S 53.667°E / -66.5; 53.667 PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document "Napier Mountains" (content from the Geographic Names Information System).



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