Berkner Island


LIMA Satellite image of Berkner Island, Antarctica

Location in Antarctica

Location Antarctica
Coordinates 79°30′S 47°30′W / 79.500°S 47.500°W / -79.500; -47.500Coordinates: 79°30′S 47°30′W / 79.500°S 47.500°W / -79.500; -47.500
Area 44,000 km2 (17,000 sq mi)
Area rank 31st
Length 320 km (199 mi)
Width 150 km (93 mi)
Highest elevation 869 m (2,851 ft)
Highest point Thyssenhöhe
Additional information
Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System

Berkner Island or Berkner Ice Rise or Hubley Island is an ice rise, where bedrock below sea level makes the ice dome upward. If the ice cap melted, it would be under water.[1] Berkner "Island" is high and completely ice-covered and about 320 kilometres (200 mi) long and 150 kilometres (93 mi) wide, with an area of 44,000 km2 (17,000 sq mi). Berkner is surrounded by the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. The northernmost point of the Berkner is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the open sea. It lies in the overlapping portion of the Argentine and the British claims.

The island rises to 869 m (2,850 ft) (975 m or 3,200 ft according to other sources) and separates Ronne Ice Shelf from the Filchner Ice Shelf. It is characterized by two domes, Reinwarthhöhe in the north (698 m or 2,290 ft), at 78°19′S 46°20′W / 78.317°S 46.333°W / -78.317; -46.333, and Thyssenhöhe in the south (869 m or 2,851 ft), at 79°34′S 45°42′W / 79.567°S 45.700°W / -79.567; -45.700. It is indented by three bays on the eastern side, which are from north to south: McCarthy Inlet, Roberts Inlet, and Spilhouse Inlet. Gould Bay is on the north coast. Berkner Island is about 150 km (93 mi) west of Luitpold Coast, Coats Land, the closest mainland of Eastern Antarctica. 17 km (10.6 mi) off the northwest corner of Berkner Island is Hemmen Ice Rise.

Berkner Island was discovered by members of the United States-International Geophysical Year (US-IGY) party at Ellsworth Station under the leadership of Capt. Finn Ronne, United States Navy Reserve (USNR), during the 1957-1958 season. Berkner Island was named by the United States Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) for American physicist Lloyd Berkner, engineer with the Byrd Antarctic Expedition (1928–1930).[2]

Since 1990, Berkner Island has been a jumping off point for a number of long distance polar expeditions. Ben Saunders has planned an unsupported journey from the island to the South Pole and back.[3] It was the start point of Henry Worsley's attempt to cross the Antarctic in 2015/16.[4]

In the 1994/1995 field season the British Antarctic Survey, Alfred Wegener Institute and the Forschungsstelle für Physikalische Glaziologie of the University of Münster cooperated in a project drilling ice cores on the North and South Domes of Berkner Island.[5]

See also


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