Polar Record


Historical observations of Prince Gustav Ice Shelf

A.P.R. Coopera1

a1 British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OET


Prince Gustav Ice Shelf, situated between James Ross Island and Trinity Peninsula at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, West Antarctica, has retreated rapidly between 1989 and 1995. This paper re-examines historical accounts of the area and plots the position of the ice shelf at various times, from 1843 onwards. These results show that an episode of rapid retreat between 1957 and 1959 preceded the recent rapid retreat, and that the ice shelf has been retreating for most of the period since 1843. The mechanisms underlying the two periods of rapid retreat are considered.

(Received February 1997)