15 Interesting Facts About Transantarctic Mountains

  1. Transantarctic Mountains (TAM) is a mountain range in Antarctica. It separates East Antarctica from West Antarctica. The length of these mountains is 3,500 km (2,220 miles).
  2. Scientists initially discovered dinosaur fossils in Antarctica in 1990-91. The place of discovery of these dinosaur fossils is the central Trans-Antarctic Mountains. (Source)
  3. The fossilized remains of prehistoric freshwater amphibians and reptiles have also been found in TAM.
  4. The most extensive coal-bearing deposits in Antarctica are located in the Transantarctic Mountains. These coal deposits are of Permian and Triassic age and extend over an area of 2,500 km. (Source)
  5. The width of TAM is from the Ross Sea in the south to the Weddell Sea in the north. This mountain range is the most prominent dividing point of the continent due to its length and elevation.
    Transantarctic Mountains highlighted
    Width of TAM is from Ross Sea to Weddell Sea

  6. The Transantarctic Mountains are the longest rift shoulder (elevated areas around rifts) in the world. The central TAM, the core of this rift shoulder, is unique due to its elevation by a non-thermal mechanism. (Source)
  7. The highest point of the Trans-Antarctic Mountains is 4,528 m (14,856 ft.). It is at the peak of Mount Kirkpatrick.
  8. The USA, New Zealand, and the UK are the countries that operate research stations at the base of these mountains.
  9. A British Royal Navy officer James Clark Ross was the first person to view this mountain range in 1841.
  10. The British were also the first to cross TAM. It happened during the British National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-1904.
  11. A famous part of Dry valleys in the Transantarctic Mountains is the Taylor Glacier. It is known for a waterfall with a stream of blood-red flow. The red color of this Blood Falls is due to the presence of iron-rich brine (saltwater). (Source)
  12. In contrast to other parts of Antarctica, Dry Valleys are almost entirely free from ice. These valleys lie between the Transantarctic Mountains. These mountains create an arid atmosphere that hinders precipitation and causes immediate evaporation of ice. (Source)
  13. Dry Valleys are known as the driest place on earth. These valleys, having an area of 4,800 km2, haven’t received any precipitation for 2 million years. (Source)
  14. Photosynthetic bacteria live in the moist interior of rocks in McMurdo Dry Valleys. These Dry Valleys have the closest environment to Mars on earth. (Source)
  15. Life in the interior of the TAM is scarce due to its harsh environment. It is limited to microorganism such as bacteria, algae, fungi, and lichens.


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