Elephant Moraine Icefields Introduction
What has become known as the Elephant Moraine area of the Allan Hills -David Glacier region actually comprises a series of extensive, somewhat discontinuous and separate bare ice areas in the vicinity of the Elephant Moraine (76°11'S 157°10'E) (ALH-DAV-Figure 1- 45 KB JPEG). The area has been very productive both in terms of numbers of specimens but also in variety of meteorite types. Meteorites that have been recovered from these areas have all been named with prefix EET in the same way that, for example, the meteorites from the Allan Hills Far Western Icefield have been designated as ALH meteorites. Meteorites have been found on many of these icefields, sometimes in high concentrations. As a result, we have given informal names to some of these local areas with high meteorite densities.
Most of the Elephant Moraine icefields are colinear and are associated with an ice escarpment extending westward from Reckling Peak for 100 kilometers. A large bare ice area 35 kilometers northwest of Elephant Moraine is not colinear with this system. We have called it the Elephant Moraine Northern Ice Patch, and it does not appear to be directly associated with the Reckling Moraine-Elephant Moraine escarpment. The topography is complex along these features, with many escarpments, steps, and basins. Elephant Moraine itself is an unusual, isolated surficial moraine lying along the escarpment. No other moraines are present in the area that we refer to as the Elephant Moraine icefields.
Meteorites were first discovered on the ice immediately surrounding Elephant Moraine during a reconnaissance traverse in the 1979-1980 season (Cassidy, 1980). Systematic searches of the area and brief visits by ANSMET expeditions and others resulted in numerous recoveries the 1982-1983, 1983-1984, 1984-1985, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1996-1997, and 1999-2000 field seasons.
During the 1982-1983 season a reconnaissance trip was made to the icefields located 20-35 kilometers west of Elephant Moraine. From this area six meteorites (EET 82604, EET 82609, EET 82610, EET 82614, EET 82615, and EET 82616) were recovered. The Northern Ice Patch was also briefly visited and two meteorites (EET 82608 and EET 82612) were collected. An ANSMET expedition spent a few weeks at Elephant Moraine and systematically searched most of the ice in the vicinity of the moraine.
The 1987-1988 ANSMET expedition conducted comprehensive reconnaissance surveys west and north of Elephant Moraine which included detailed searches of local areas in Texas Bowl, Meteorite City, and at the Northern Ice Patch. The Texas Bowl Icefield was thoroughly searched in the 1990-91 season. During the 1992-1993 field season the Northern Ice Patch was completely searched. The systematic search of the Meteorite City Icefields was begun in the 1996-97 season. Visits were made to the Elephant Moraine and Texas Bowl. Meteorites were recovered from both localities. A large bare ice area is situated between Meteorite City and Elephant Moraine that had never been visited prior to the 1996-97 season. A few specimens were recovered from what we thought should have been a productive area. We named the icefield the Shoodabin Icefield.
Note that the meteorite listings for the the named icefield areas only include those EET specimens that were found within that general vicinity.
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