Prince Gustav Channel

The Prince Gustav Channel was named in 1903 after Crown Prince Gustav of Sweden (later King Gustav V) by Otto Nordenskiöld of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition.

The channel is bounded on the west by the Antarctic Peninsula and on the east by James Ross Island. It is about 130 kilometres (81 mi) long and ranges from 6 to 24 kilometres (3.7–15 mi) wide.

On 27 February 1995, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) reported that an ice shelf formerly blocking the channel had disintegrated. This ice shelf had spanned approximately 700 square kilometres (270 sq mi) prior to its disintegration.

In the area previously covered by the shelf, the channel's water depth is between 600 to 800 metres (2,000 to 2,600 ft). Between February and March 2000, scientists collected sediment cores 5 to 6 m in length from the ocean floor. Carbon dating of organic material found in the sediment layers suggested that for a period between 2,000 to 5,000 years ago, much of the channel was seasonally open water. While icebergs were able to navigate the channel, ice rafted debris was deposited within the sediment.

It appears that before and after this period, the channel remained closed. The period when the channel was open coincides with a period of local warming supported by data gathered from land-based studies of lake sediments and ancient, abandoned penguin rookeries. With the return of colder conditions about 1900 years ago, the Prince Gustav Ice Shelf reformed until its recent retreat and collapse.

Ice shelves are sensitive indicators of regional climatic change, therefore recent warming in the vicinity of the Prince Gustav Channel is exceptional for at least the past 1900 years.

Famous quotes containing the words channel and/or prince:

    Wherever there is a channel for water, there is a road for the canoe.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Subordination to morality can be slavish or vain or self- interested or resigned or gloomily enthusiastic or thoughtless or an act of despair, just as subordination to a prince can be: in itself it is nothing moral.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)