Geological maps from the British Antarctic Survey



In a bold move the British Antarctic Survey has published the naturally fragmentary results of their ongoing geological mapping and research programme in the Antarctic Peninsula and offshore islands, plus South Georgia. The later is classified as a United Kingdom overseas territory, along with the volcanically active South Sandwich Islands just north of 60 degrees south. Beyond this latitude to the South Pole all territorial claims have been frozen by the Antarctic treaty, which built upon the International Geophysical Year of 1957 and came into force in 1961. Since then this monumental achievement, developed during the height of the cold war, has succeeded in keeping Antarctica demilitarized, including banning the disposal of nuclear waste, and untainted by mineral exploration. In 1998 this treaty was renewed for a further fifty years and extended to cover the impact of tourism. Although geological research had been conducted since the pioneering days of Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen, the original 1908 territorial claim was backed up by a continuing presence since 1943, and the Falklands Islands Dependencies Survey was renamed the British Antarctic Survey in 1962 to chime with the spirit of purely scientific research entailed by this treaty which has now expanded to a membership of nearly fifty nations.