A Continent Apart
Antarctica was at one time part of an ancient, considerably larger land mass, referred to by geologists as Gondwanaland. The supercontinent began breaking up during the Triassic Period (205-240 million years ago) and its several segments gradually drifted apart to form the present continents of South America, Africa, India, Australia (with New Zealand), and Antarctica.
Geomorphology is the study of landforms and in the Antarctic, these studies have mainly been concerned with the effects of the ice sheet on the underlying rock, as well as the study of glacial deposits, and the formation of patterned ground.
Volcanic activity in Antarctica is limited to only a few places, the most notable being Mount Erebus on Ross Island. The island is entirely of volcanic origin, as are White and Black Islands, Brown Peninsula and Mina Bluff, and the massifs of Mounts Discovery and Morning. These are products of eruptions–from the Pliocene through the present–of basaltic lavas from central cones and fissures at various locations. Mount Erebus is the largest and by far the most active of the few volcanoes on the continent, almost continuously spewing out steam and gases from its summit crater.