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The geological work of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-04

Philip Stone
The geological work of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-04
Scottish Journal of Geology (November 2017) 53 (2): 71-87


The Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902 - 04) made the first topographical survey and geological assessment of Laurie Island, one of the South Orkney Islands. The expedition's surgeon and geologist, J. H. H. Pirie, provided competent geological descriptions but these were largely overshadowed by his misidentification of an obscure plant fossil as a graptolite. Erroneous confirmation by eminent British palaeontologists led to Triassic rocks being regarded as Lower Palaeozoic for fifty years. The mistake arose from the familiarity of all concerned with the geology of the Scottish Southern Uplands: they were led astray by the preconception that, as in Scotland, deformed 'greywacke-shale' successions would contain Lower Palaeozoic fossils. Other, more successful aspects of the expedition's geological investigations are less well known. Fossils acquired in the Falkland Islands expanded that archipelago's poorly known Devonian brachiopod fauna, but arguably the most important palaeontological discovery lay unrecognized for ten years. A limestone block dredged from the bed of the Weddell Sea contained Early Cambrian archaeocyath fossils which, had they been promptly identified, would have been the first record of this important Antarctic palaeofauna. Instead, the Weddell Sea material complemented fossils recovered on the opposite, Ross Sea side of the Antarctic continent during Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition (1907 - 09).

ISSN: 0036-9276
EISSN: 2041-4951
Serial Title: Scottish Journal of Geology
Serial Volume: 53
Serial Issue: 2
Title: The geological work of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-04
Author(s): Stone, Philip
Affiliation: British Geological Survey, Lyell Centre, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Pages: 71-87
Published: 201711
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society Publishing House for the Geological Societies of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Bath, United Kingdom
References: 77
Accession Number: 2018-018737
Categories: General paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, sketch maps
S60°40'00" - S60°40'00", W45°19'60" - W44°25'00"
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 2018
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