Soil studies by members of the NZ Soil Bureau in Antarctica began in earnest in 1959 when an extensive survey of the Taylor Valley was carried out. This work showed that soils were present in Antarctica and that soil pattern could be interpreted in terms of recognisable pedological factors. Further studies in the 1964-65 season in places as widely separated as the Shackleton Glacier and Cape Hallett| and including the Victoria Valley made it possible to show quite large variations in the soil with climate, age and parent material and to illustrate the relationship between soils and glacial history. These findings were confirmed by a traverse of the Scott Glacier from the Polar Plateau to the Ross Ice Shelf during the 1969-1970 season.
The Wright Valley| however| had in recent years been the scene of a number of pedological investigations by other workers and absolute ages for some of the geological deposits had become available. Climate data was also available with the establishment of Vanda Station. It became essential to correlate the results obtained by other workers with those obtained during the investigations described above, which covered most of the Ross Dependency. As a result of this examination of the soils of the Dry Valleys it was possible to link up the 1959 survey of the Taylor Valley and the 1965 survey of the Victoria Valley, and to correlate the results of detailed surveys made by other workers with those made by the Soil Bureau. From this work it has been possible to recognise at least six weathering stages in the soils of the McMurdo sound region, corresponding to events in the glacial history of Antarctica, the earliest which took place considerably more than 3.5 million years ago. Even older events are indicated but not as yet represented by recognised weathering stages