(Reuters) - A U.S.-based scientist was killed in Antarctica when the snowmobile he was driving plunged into a crevasse on Saturday, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) said in a statement on Monday.

Gordon Hamilton, 50, a University of Maine professor in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, and a researcher with the Climate Change Institute, fell 100 feet (30.48 metres) into the crevasse, the NSF statement said.

Hamilton's body has been recovered and U.S. Antarctic Program personnel have opened an investigation into his death.

Hamilton was part of a team camped in a heavily crevassed area known as the Shear Zone, around 25 miles (40.23 km) south of McMurdo Station, the largest of the three U.S. research stations in Antarctica.

British explorer Henry Worsley died earlier this year of exhaustion and dehydration as he tried to cross Antarctica unaided.

(Reporting by Pauline Askin in Sydney; editing by Jane Wardell and Grant McCool)