Ross Sea

Ross Sea
an arm of the Antarctic Ocean, S of New Zealand, extending into Antarctica.

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      southern extension of the Pacific Ocean, which, along with the vast ice shelf (see Ross Ice Shelf) at its head, makes a deep indentation in the circular continental outline of Antarctica. The sea is a generally shallow marine region, approximately 370,000 sq mi (960,000 sq km) in area, centred at about 75° S, 175° W, and lying between Cape Adare in northern Victoria Land on the west and Cape Colbeck on Edward VII Peninsula on the east. The northern limit lies approximately along the edge of the continental shelf and the southern limit along a great barrier wall of ice marking the front of the Ross Ice Shelf.

      Overshadowed by the towering ranges of Victoria Land, the floor of the Ross Sea extends northward as a broad shelf before plunging into the deeps of the Southeast Pacific Basin along a line from Scott Island to Cape Colbeck. The broader, western half of the sea shoals to less than 1,000 ft (300 m) in several wide areas, the southwesternmost culminating in the small and rocky volcanic pile of Franklin Island. Most of the floor is less than 3,000 feet deep. The coastal region is dotted with modern volcanos and older dissected volcanic piles of an extensive alkaline–basalt area (McMurdo Volcanics) consisting of Cape Adare, Cape Hallett, Mount Melbourne, Franklin and Ross islands, on the western coast, and a number of lesser known centres in western Marie Byrd Land, on the eastern coast.

      The Ross Sea is one of the least iced and most accessible of Antarctica's fringe seas. Relatively easy access made this region the traditional avenue for mounting expeditions into the continental interior. The sea was first penetrated on January 5, 1841, by the HMS “Erebus” and HMS “Terror,” commanded by James Clark Ross on an unsuccessful attempt to reach the south magnetic pole. Since then various points on the Ross Ice Shelf have served as bases for exploration parties from Norway, Great Britain, Japan, the United States, and New Zealand. All coastal regions have been geologically explored, at least in reconnaissance, and the southern Victoria Land region near McMurdo Sound has become the most thoroughly known on the continent. Rich with history and scenery, the Ross Sea is now regularly traversed by tourist vessels.

      Several possibilities exist with regard to the origin of the Ross Sea continental embayment. Early geologists believed the Ross Sea to extend as a subglacial trench, the hypothetical Ross–Weddell Graben, to connect with the Weddell Sea. Since then, discovery of the intervening Ellsworth Mountains has disproved the hypothesis. Geophysical studies on the Ross Ice Shelf indicate the presence of an underlying thick section of seismically low-velocity, probably sedimentary, rocks. The embayment, therefore, may be either a down-faulted block of continental rocks, including the Beacon Group, or it may be a downwarped basin filled with sedimentary rocks.

      Flora and fauna are typical of other southerly Antarctic marine regions. The nutrient-rich sea water supports abundant planktonic life which in turn provides food for larger forms, including fish, seals, whales, and sea- and shore-birds. Among the latter, hordes of Adélie and emperor penguins populate rookeries at a number of places around the Ross Sea.

      The Ross Sea is strongly influenced by the coastal East-Wind Drift that sets up a vast, clockwise gyre accompanied by deep-water upwelling. Surface currents move generally westward along the ice-shelf front and thence northward along Victoria Land, where they meet the West-Wind Drift. Movements are complicated by shoals and tidal currents. Water less than 1,000 feet deep has a minimum temperature of about 28.2° F (-2.1° C). Mean surface water temperature in McMurdo Sound is about 28.8° F (-1.8° C).

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ross Sea — [after ROSS Sir James Clark, who discovered it] arm of the Pacific, along the coast of Antarctica, east of Victoria Land …   English World dictionary

  • Ross Sea — Ross′ Sea′ n. geg an arm of the Antarctic Ocean, S of New Zealand, extending into Antarctica …   From formal English to slang

  • Ross Sea — The Ross Sea is a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land. It was discovered by James Ross in 1841. In the west of the Ross Sea is Ross Island with the Mt. Erebus volcano, in the east Roosevelt… …   Wikipedia

  • Ross Sea party — The Ross Sea party was part of Sir Ernest Shackleton s Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition 1914 ndash;17. Shackleton s plan was to land with a group on the Weddell Sea coast of Antarctica from his ship Endurance , and to march across the… …   Wikipedia

  • Ross Sea Party — Die Ross Sea Party war ein Teil von Ernest Shackletons Endurance Expedition von 1914 bis 1917. Shackletons Plan war es, den antarktischen Kontinent zu durchqueren. Da es ihnen nicht möglich sein würde, ausreichende Vorräte mitzuführen, sollte ein …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ross Sea Party — Expédition Endurance Pour les articles homonymes, voir Endurance (homonymie). Le trois mâts l Endurance qui a donné son nom à l expédition …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ross Sea Party/Mannschaftsliste — Dies ist eine Liste der Mitglieder der Ross Sea Party, der Unterstützungsexpedition der Expedition Endurance in die Antarktis von 1914 bis 1917. Name Geboren Gestorben Aufgaben Bemerkungen Küstengruppe Aeneas Mackintosh 1879 1916 Kommandant Starb …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ross Sea — noun an arm of the southern Pacific Ocean in Antarctica • Instance Hypernyms: ↑sea • Part Holonyms: ↑Antarctica, ↑Antarctic continent * * * an arm of the Antarctic Ocean, S of New Zealand, extending into Antarctica. * * * a large arm of the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ross Sea — geographical name arm of S Pacific extending into Antarctica E of Victoria Land …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Ross Sea — /rɒs ˈsi/ (say ros see) noun an arm of the Antarctic Ocean, south of New Zealand, extending into Antarctica …  

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