Connections to Antarctic exploration history

AP3 Paleontologist Julia Clarke here.

Near the end of the day, during our Feb. 14 exploration of Robertson Island,  we ended up on the top of the bluff. I hiked out far to the north along the edge of the glacier that covered most of the island. About 20 meters out, a tiny, differently-colored object glinted slightly. It turned out to be the end of a harpoon-shaped metal point. It was apparently quite old. The tip was somewhat blunted by design.

I started researching the history of Robertson Island as much as I could with limited resources shipboard that evening.

In 1893, Carl Larsen (of the Larsen ice sheets) named Robertson after supposedly ascending to the top of the volcano to verify its island status. He is supposed to have skied down the glacier- apparently the first ski trip in Antarctica!

I’m fascinated that I just might have found a tiny piece of Antarctic exploration history. Perhaps a flag planted high on the glacier during that trip? Much-weathered wood is preserved in the hollow base of the point. This we might be able to carbon date. In another tie-in to our current trip, Larsen’s expedition reported the first fossils from Seymour Island.

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