Place-name of the Month – July/Aug 2014

Robin Subglacial BasinRobin SB map

Following the publication of Bedmap2, the project collaborators were encouraged to submit place-name proposals for any new features identified from this new dataset. Robin Subglacial Basin was identified as a deep subglacial feature approximately 220 km by 50 km and nearly 2 km below sea level (see map). It is situated upstream of the grounding line of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Weddell Sea sector. The Institute and Möller Ice Streams run through the region, separated by the Bungenstock Ice Rise. Ice is grounded in the entire basin, over 2 km thick in places. It is one of three major deep basins in West Antarctica, the others being Byrd Subglacial basin and the Bentley Subglacial Trench.

The feature is named after Dr Gordon de Quetteville Robin (1927-2004), a pioneering glaciologist who demonstrated the utility of airborne radar sounding of polar ice sheets through a series of deep field campaigns in Antarctica during the 1960s and 1970s. His research led significantly to our appreciation of subglacial Antarctica, and how it controls ice sheet dynamics, so this palce-name is a fitting tribute to him. Dr de Q. Robin was also a FIDS Base Leader at Cape Geddes (1947) and Signy (1947-48), a geophysicist on the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1949-52), SCAR Secretary (1958-70) and then President (1970-74), and Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) (1958-82). Interestingly, the ‘Institute Ice Stream’ that feeds ice into Robin Subglacial Basin was named after SPRI.