“Not included in the above collection, richly atmospheric, Lovecraft’s
account of the Miskatonic University’s doomed expedition to the
Antarctic is a clever scientific pastiche. Nothing like a geology
professor trying to describe strat that does not correspond to the
familiar nor a biologist describing fauna that should not exist. Even
though this story was written in the ‘30s, it wasn’t until the ‘50s that
the Russians discovered a vast mountain range buried under miles of ice
in the Antarctic. Prescient? Perhaps. There’s been talk of drilling to
explore the Gamburstevs; I would advise against that since things did
not go so well for Professor Lake and his party.”
The story is recalled in a first-person perspective by the geologist William Dyer, a professor at Arkham's Miskatonic University, in the hope to prevent an important and much publicized scientific expedition to Antarctica. Throughout the course of his explanation, Dyer relates how he led a group of scholars from Miskatonic University on a previous expedition to Antarctica, during which they discovered ancient ruins and a dangerous secret, beyond a range of mountains higher than the Himalayas.
A small advance group, led by Professor Lake, discovers the remains of fourteen prehistoric life-forms, previously unknown to science, and also unidentifiable as either plants or animals. Six of the specimens have been badly damaged, while another eight have been preserved in pristine condition. The specimens' stratum places them far too early on the geologic time scale for the features of the specimens to have evolved. Some fossils of Cambrian age show signs of the use of tools to carve a specimen for food.