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Marine Places

Ross Sea

The Ross Sea is a large bay situated between Marie Byrd Land and Victoria Land. Water circulates in a clockwise gyre, with a westward coastal current being turned north along the coast of Victoria Land to join the eastward Circumpolar Current.

The Ross Sea is named after the British naval officer James Clark Ross, who charted this part of the Antarctic coast in 1841. The volcanoes Mount Erebus and Mount Terror on Ross Island are named after the two ships under his command during this expedition. Ross Island is home to the largest scientific base on Antarctica, the American research station at McMurdo Sound. The Ross Sea can be largely ice-free during the summer months, making for an easier approach to the South Pole than is possible via the Weddell Sea.

Ross Seazoom image
  • Area 370,000 square miles (960,000 square km)
  • Maximum Depth 8,300 ft (2,500 m)
  • Inflows Southern Ocean, Ross Ice Shelf