Abbot Ice Shelf, Antarctica

May 19, 2012, 6:11 pm

The Abbot Ice Shelf is a is a thick slab of ice, attached to West Antarctica's central coast and extending out over the ocean as a seaward extension of the grounded Antarctic Ice Sheet. This ice shelf is one of 47 named Antarctic Ice Shelves.

The Abbott Ice Shelf occurs at the junction of the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas. This ice shelf extends an east-west distance of about 250 to 400 kilometers (km) and exhibits a characteristic width of 65 km; this ice shelf is supported by several islands, most significantly, Thurston Island, which provide inherent structural integrity to the Abbot Ice Shelf. Conflicting sources attribute various east-west extents of the Abbot Ice Shelf, from values of 250 to 400 km, presumably due to the definition of the eastern limit.

caption Abbott Ice Shelf. Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center

USGS Geographic Names Information Service

According to the USGS, the Abbot Ice Shelf is 400 km long and 65 km wide, bordering Eights Coast from Cape Waite to Phrogner Point. (Note that other sources attribute the length of this ice shelf at 250 km, probably due to definition of the ambiguous eastern limit.) Thurston Island lies along the northern edge of the western half of this ice shelf; other sizable islands (Sherman, Carpenter, Dustin, Johnson, McNamara, Farwell and Dendtler) lie partly or wholly within it.

The Abbot Ice Shelf was sighted by members of U.S. Antarctic Service (USAS) in flights from the ship Bear, in February 1940, and its western portion was delineated from air photos taken by U.S. Navy (USN) OpHjp, 1946-47. The full extent was mapped by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from U.S. Navy (USN) air photos of 1966. Named by Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) for R. Admiral J. Lloyd Abbot, Jr., Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Support Force, Antarctica, February 1967 to June 1969. 

Further Reading



(2012). Abbot Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Retrieved from


To add a comment, please Log In.