A 1978 geological survey discovered 96 million year old alkali granite on Mount Ickes, which is consistent with age of the surrounding granite of the coast of Marie Byrd Land.
Discovery and name
The mountains were discovered by aircraft during a flyover by the U.S. Antarctic Service on 18 December 1940. The Ickes Mountains were named in honor of U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. However, according to a story in the Zanesville Times Recorder in July 1947, Ickes actually refused to allow his name to be formally attached to the mountains.
Ickes viewed the naming of a mountain in his honor as a conflict of interest with the office he was holding. He stated at the time: "Since the ultimate responsibility for the board on geographical names lay with the secretary of the interior, I cannot permit my name to be used." Nonetheless, the name became established in common usage and in 1966 it was finally approved by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, 14 years after his death.
When asked how to say his name, Harold Ickes told The Literary Digest: "I think you come as close as anybody when you suggest that it rhymes with sickness with the n omitted."