Geology of Coalsack Bluff, Antarctica

  1. Mort D. Turner and
  2. John E. Splettstoesser
  1. James W. Collinson and
  2. David H. Elliot

Published Online: 16 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/AR036p0097

Geology of the Central Transantarctic Mountains

Geology of the Central Transantarctic Mountains

How to Cite

Collinson, J. W. and Elliot, D. H. (1986) Geology of Coalsack Bluff, Antarctica, in Geology of the Central Transantarctic Mountains (eds M. D. Turner and J. E. Splettstoesser), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/AR036p0097

Author Information

  1. Institute of Polar Studies and Department of Geology and Mineralogy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1986

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875901848

Online ISBN: 9781118664797



  • Buckley formation;
  • Coalsack bluff;
  • Ferrar Dolerite;
  • Fremouw formation;
  • Quaternary deposits


Coalsack Bluff, a small nunatak in the central Transantarctic Mountains, is the first major Antarctic discovery site of bones of the tetrapod fauna characterized by Lystrosaurus. Rock units on Coalsack Bluff include the upper 220 m of the Buckley Formation and the lower 270 m of the Fremouw Formation. The Buckley Formation, dominated by carbonaceous beds containing fossil plants of the Glossopteris flora, is Permiari in age. The overlying Fremouw Formation, a cyclical sequence of fluvial sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone contains near its base amphibian and reptile bones that represent the Lower Triassic Lystrosaurus Zone. A disconformlty with slight relief, representing the Paleozoic-Mesozoic boundary, separates these two formations. Tectonic deformation is closely associated with diabase intrusions that are radiometrically dated as Middle Jurassic.