Soil data and maps

Ross Sea region soils

Historic and recent soil site and soil pit horizon data

Mount Herschel Antarctica
How to access

The Ross Sea soil data can be accessed from this site.


Ross Sea Region Antarctica.




Manaaki Whenua has conducted research in Antarctica for many years and manages and curates the Ross Sea Region soil database and related materials.

The database contains historic and recent soil site and soil pit horizon data from:

  • Thirty-five years of soil studies by Drs Iain Campbell and Graeme Claridge, and their colleagues
  • Investigation since 2005 by Dr Malcolm McLeod, Dr Megan Balks, Prof Jim Bockheim and colleagues in Wright Valley, Cape Hallett, and the Darwin Mountains.

Included in the database are descriptions of over 1000 soil pits at soil sites clustered around ice-free areas, reaching as far south and east as 87º S, 150º E and as far north and west as 72º S, 170º E. For each soil pit, site and soil horizons are described in detail. Site descriptions include observations of the surrounding geological, topographic and climatic contexts, and local surface features, site moisture, parent material and biology.


The Ross Sea Region data on this site is taken from the following sources:

Soil site and soil pit horizon data

Soil studies by Iain Campbell, Graeme Claridge, and their colleagues over 35 years have been organised into the soils reports accessible from this part of the website. You can also view the soil sites using an interactive map viewer.


SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctic Placenames (CGA)

The SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica (CGA) consists of 37,510 names that correspond to 19,479 features. The place names information has been submitted by the national names committees from 22 countries and compiled by Roberto Cervellati and Chiara Ramorino from the Italian Antarctic names committee. CGA is hosted by the Australian Antarctic Data Centre.

Antarctic Digital Database

Vector data from the SCAR ADD managed by British Antarctic Survey have been downloaded from their website. For the Ross Sea these data are predominantly derived from the printed 1:250 000 USGS topographic map series of the region. The original data were organised in separate sheets, within each layer; the sheets have been merged into a single shapefile for efficient access.

RAMP-1 125 m SAR mosaic

A quadrant of the 1.6GB medium resolution version of the Radarsat-1 Antarctic Mapping Project (RAMP) SAR mosaic was extracted and downloaded for use in this website.


We appreciate the past financial support of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, New Zealand (CO9X0307 and C09X1001) and the logistic support of Antarctica New Zealand, Helicopters New Zealand, and the staff at Scott Base. Soil analyses were done in Manaaki Whenua's Environmental Chemistry Laboratory.