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Borax in the supraglacial moraine of the Lewis Cliff, Buckley Island quadrangle--first Antarctic occurrence

January 1, 2012

During the 1987-1988 austral summer field season, membersof the south party of the antarctic search for meteorites south-ern team* working in the Lewis Cliff/Colbert Hills region dis-covered several areas of unusual mineralization within theLewis Cliff ice tongue and its associated moraine field (figure1). The Lewis Cliff ice tongue (84°15'S 161°25'E) is a meteorite-stranding surface of ablating blue ice, about 2.3 by 7.0 kilo-meters, bounded on the west by the Lewis Cliff, on the northand northeast by a large supraglacial moraine, and on the eastby the Colbert Hills. To the south it opens to the Walcott Névé.Because it is a meteorite-stranding surface, the major component of ice motion in the area is believed to be vertical(Whillans and Cassidy 1983). The presence of Thule-Baffinmoraines at the northern terminus of the blue ice tends tosupport the hypothesis that the area underlying the moraineis essentially stagnant and that ice arriving from the south ispiling up against it. Areas containing mineral deposits werefound within the moraine field to the north and east of theblue ice margin and also along the east margins of the blue iceitself. Subsequent X-ray diffraction analyses of these depositshave shown that they are composed predominantly of nah-colite (NaHCO3), trona [Na3(CO3)(HCO3) · 2H20], borax[Na2B405(OH)4 · 8H20], and a new hexagonal hydrous sulfatespecies. This paper reports the details of the borax occurrence,because it is the first known on the continent.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1989
Title Borax in the supraglacial moraine of the Lewis Cliff, Buckley Island quadrangle--first Antarctic occurrence
DOI
Authors J. J. Fitzpatrick, D.R. Muhs
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Antarctic Journal of the United States
Series Number
Index ID 70038761
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology and Environmental Change Science Center