POLAR REGIONS, a general term for the regions about the North or South Pole, otherwise called the Arctic or Antarctic regions. The ancients had no actual knowledge of the Polar regions. They had probably heard rumours of the light summer History of Arctic Expeditions.nights and the dark winter nights in the north, as is shown by Homer's description of the Laestrygons having the short nights and the Cimmerians living in perpetual darkness. By astronomical speculations the Greeks had come to the conclusion that north of the Arctic Circle there must be midnight sun at midsummer and no sun at midwinter. The general view was that the Polar regions, north and south, belonged to the uninhabitable frozen zones; while according to a less scientific notion there was a happy region north of the north Wind (Boreas), where the sun was always shining and the Hyperboreans led a peaceful life. The first traveller of history who probably approached the Arctic Circle and reached the land of the midnight Pytheas sun was the Greek Pytheas (q.v.), from Massalia (Marseilles), who about 325 B.C. made a voyage of discovery northwards along the west coast of Europe, which is one of the most remarkable in history. He visited England, Scotland, the Scottish isles, and probably also northern Norway, which he called Thule. He moved the limits of the known world from the south coast of England northward to the Arctic Circle. It seems probable that he made two or perhaps several voyages. He also discovered the northern coasts of Germany as far east as Jutland.We hear of no other voyages towards the Arctic regions before the Irish monk Dicuil, writing about 825, mentions the discovery by Irish monks of a group of small islands (the Faeroes), and a greater island (Iceland), which he calls Thule, where there Irish Discovery of Iceland.was hardly any night at midsummer. It is possible that Iceland and the Faeroes were inhabited by a small Celtic population before the Irish monks
came thither. The fact that Irish monks lived in Iceland before the Norsemen settled there in the end of the 9th century is verified by the Icelandic sagas.
In his translation of Orosius, King Alfred inserts the interesting story of the first known really Arctic voyage, told him by the Norwegian Ottar (Alfred calls him Ohthere), who about 870 rounded the North Cape, sailed eastwards along the Murman coast Ottar.and discovered the White Sea, where he reached the south coast of the Kola Peninsula and the boundary of the land of the Biarmians (Beormas). Ottar told King Alfred that “he chiefly went thither, in addition to the seeing of the country, on account of the walruses.”
After Ottar’s time the king of Norway took possession of all land as far east as the White Sea and the land of the Biarmians, and the native “Finns” had to pay him tribute. Many voyages, mostly of hostile nature but also for trade purposes, were undertaken from Norway to the White Sea, and even kings went as far. It is told of King Eric, called Bloodyaxe, who died as king of York in England, that he made such a voyage, and fought with the Biarmians, about 920, and about 965 his son Harold Graafeld defeated the Biarmians and killed many people in a great battle near the river Dvina, where Archangel was built later.
After having settled in Iceland in the end of the 9th century, the Norsemen soon discovered Greenland and settled there. The first who is reported to have seen the coast of Greenland was a Norwegian, Gunnbjorn Ulfsson, who on his way to Iceland was storm-driven westwards. He came to some islands, afterwards called Gunnbjornskier, and saw a coast, but, without exploring the new land, he had evidently continued his way till Eric the Red.he reached Iceland. The real discoverer and explorer of Greenland was the Norwegian, Eric the Red, who, with his father had settled in Iceland. As he and his men had there been declared outlaws for having killed several people they had to leave Iceland for three years, and he went westward to find the land which Gunnbjorn was reported to have seen. He explored the west coast of Greenland for three years, probably about 982–985. He then returned to Iceland, but founded the following year a colony in Greenland (q.v.). Many colonists followed, and two Norse settlements were formed, viz. the Eystrabygd (i.e. eastern settlement) on the south-eastern part of the Greenland west coast, between Cape Farewell and about 61° N. lat, where Eric the Red had his house, Brattalid, at the Eiriksfjord, and the Vestrabygd (i.e. western settlement) in the region of the present Godthaab district, between 63° and 66° N. lat. The Norse settlers carried on their seal and whale-hunting still farther north along the west coast beyond the Arctic circle, and probably in the region of Disco Bay. A runic stone was found in a cairn on a small island in 72° 55′ N. lat north of Upernivik, showing that Norsemen had been there. The stone probably dates from the 14th century. About 1267 an expedition was sent northwards along the west coast and may possibly have reached some distance north of Upernivik.
The last known communication between the Norse settlements in Greenland and Norway was in 1410, when some Icelanders returned, who four years previously had been storm-driven to Greenland After that time we possess no reliable information about the fate of these settlements When Greenland was rediscovered in the 16th century no descendants of the Norse settlers were found The probability is that having gradually been cut off from all communications with Europe, the remaining settlers who had not returned to the motherland were obliged to adopt the Eskimo mode of life, which in those surroundings was far superior to the European, and by intermarriage they would then soon be absorbed amongst the more numerous natives. There is evidence to show that an expedition was probably sent from Denmark or Norway to Greenland Pining and Scolvus.in the latter part of the 15th century (perhaps about 1476) under Pining and Pothorst (by Purchas called “Punnus and Pothorse”); and perhaps with Johan Scolvus as pilot. It is probable that this expedition had intercourse with the natives of Greenland, and possibly even reached Labrador, but it is unknown whether any remains of the Norse settlements were found on the Greenland west coast.
It is reported by Adam of Bremen (about 1070) that the Norwegian king Harold Haardraade (in the 11th century) made an expedition into the Arctic Sea (probably northwards) in order to examine how far it extended, but we know nothing King Harold.more about this voyage.
The Icelandic annals report that a land called Svalbardi was discovered in 1194. The name means the cold side or coast. The land was, according to the sagas, situated four days’ sailing from north-eastern Iceland northwards in the Hafsbotn (i.e. Spitsbergen. the northern termination of the sea, which was supposed to end as a bay). There can be no doubt that this land was Spitsbergen. The Norsemen carried on seal, walrus and whale hunting, and it is believed on good ground that they extended their hunting expeditions eastwards as far as Novaya Zemlya and northwards to Spitsbergen.
On his way to Greenland from Norway in the year 1000 Leif Ericsson found America, probably Nova Scotia, which he called Wineland the Good. A few years later Thorfinn Karlsefni sailed from Greenland with three ships to make a settlement in the land discovered by Leif. They first came to Labrador, which they called Helluland, then to Newfoundland, which was called Markland (i.e. woodland), and then to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia (Vinland, Wineland). After three years they had to give up the undertaking on account of hostilities with the natives, probably Red Indians, and they returned to Greenland about 1006. We know of no later expedition of the Norsemen that reached Greenland; it is stated that Eric Uppri, the first bishop of Greenland, went in 1121 to seek Vinland, but it is not related whether he ever reached it, and the probability is that he never returned.
The Icelandic annals state that in 1347 a small Greenland ship which had sailed to Markland (Newfoundland) was afterwards storm-driven to Iceland with seventeen men. This is the last known voyage made by the Norsemen of Greenland which Newfound-land.with certainty reached America.
The discoveries of the old Norsemen extended over the northern seas from Novaya Zemlya in the east to Labrador, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in the west; they had visited all Arctic lands in these regions, and had explored the White Sea, the Barents Sea, the Spitsbergen and Greenland Sea, Davis Strait, and even some part of Baffin Bay. They were the first navigators in history who willingly left the coasts and sailed across the open ocean, and they crossed the Atlantic between Norway and America, thereby being the real discoverers of this ocean, as well as the pioneers in oceanic navigation. They were the teachers of the navigators of later centuries, and it is hardly an accident that the undertakings of England towards the west started from Bristol, where many Norwegians had settled, and which from the beginning of the 15th century had much trade with Iceland.
John Cabot, sent out by the merchants of Bristol, rediscovered the American continent in 1497. He came to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, probably the same land where Leif Ericsson had landed 500 years before. John Cabot started on a new John Cabot.expedition towards the west in 1498, but no more is known of this expedition, not even whether Cabot returned or not. There is no reliable evidence to prove that John Cabot or his son Sebastian ever discovered Labrador, as has been generally believed.
The Portuguese Gaspar Corte-Real rediscovered Greenland in 1500. He sailed along its east coast without being able to land on account of the ice. Whether he visited the west coast is uncertain. In 1501 he made a new expedition when he also Corte-Real.rediscovered Newfoundland. One of his ships returned home to Lisbon, but he himself and his ship disappeared. His brother went in search of him the following year, but was heard of no more.
Cabot’s and Corte-Real’s discoveries were followed by the development of the Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries, and a whole fleet of English, Portuguese, Basque and Breton fishermen was soon met with in these waters, and they probably went along the Labrador coast northward as far as Hudson Strait, without having left any report of their discoveries. It is believed, on good grounds, that expeditions (combined English-Portuguese) were sent out to the newly discovered regions from Bristol in 1501 and 1502. It is unknown what their discoveries were, but they may possibly have sailed along the coast of Labrador.
It is possible that John Cabot’s son, Sebastian Cabot, made an Arctic expedition in 1508–1509, in search of a short passage to China towards the north-west, and later, in 1521, King Henry VIII. made an attempt to persuade the merchants of London to support him in sending out an expedition, under Sebastian Cabot, to the north-westernSebastian Cabot. counties. It is uncertain whether it ever started, but it is certain that it achieved nothing of importance.
John Rut sailed from Plymouth in 1527, in order to seek a passage to China through the Arctic seas towards the north-west, following the suggestion of Robert Thorne of Bristol. He met ice in 53° N. lat. and returned to Newfoundland. Several other expeditions were sent out from various countries towards the north-west and west during this period, but no discoveries of importance are known to have been made in the Arctic regions.
There are rumours that the Portuguese, as early as 1484, under King John II., had sent out an expedition towards Novaya Zemlya in search of a north-east passage to India. The Genovese Paolo Centurione probably proposed to King Henry VIII. of England, in 1525, to make an expedition in search of such a passage to India Centurione.north of Russia, and there is evidence to show that there had been much talk about an undertaking of this kind in England and at the English court during the following period, as it was hoped that a new market might be found for English merchandise, especially cloth. But it led to nothing until 1553, when Sebastian Cabot was one of the chief promoters. Three ships and 112 men under Sir Hugh Willoughby sailed from Ratcliffe on the 10thWilloughby. (20th) May 1553. Richard Chancelor commanded one of the ships, which was separated from the two others in a gale off northern Norway on the 3rd (13th) August. Willoughby, after having sighted land in various places, probably Kolguev Island, where they landed, the coast near the Pechora river and Kanin Nos, came on the 14th (24th) September to a good harbour on the northern coast of the Kola Peninsula. His one ship being leaky, Willoughby resolved to winter there, but he and all his men perished. Chancelor, after hisChancelor. separation from the two other ships, rounded the North Cape, to which he or his sailing-master, Stephen Borough, gave this name. He reached Vardohus, and after having waited there in vain for Willoughby, he followed the route of the Norsemen to the White Sea and reached the bay of St Nicholas, with a monastery of this name, near the mouth of the Dvina river, where Archangel was built later. Chancelor undertook a journey to Moscow, made arrangements for commercial intercourse with Russia, and returned next year with his ship, which was, however, plundered by the Flemings, but he reached London safely with a letter from the tsar. In spite of the disaster of Willoughby and his men this expedition became of fundamental importance for the development of English trade. Chancelor’s success and his so-called discovery of the passage to the White Sea, which was well known to the Norwegian traders in that region, proved to people in England the practical utility of polar voyages. It led to a charter being granted to the Association of Merchant Adventurers, also called the Muscovy or Russia Company, and gave a fresh impulse to Arctic discovery. Chancelor undertook a new expedition to the White Sea and Moscow in 1555; on his way home in the following year he was wrecked on the coast of Scotland and perished.
In 1556 Stephen Borough (Burrough), who had served with Chancelor, was sent out by the Muscovy Company in a small pinnace called the “Search-thrift,” in order to try to reach the river Ob, of which rumours had been heard. Novaya Zemlya, Vaigach Island, and the Kara Strait leading into the Kara Sea, were discovered. Borough kept a carefulBorough. journal of his voyage. In 1580 the company fitted out two vessels under Arthur Pet and Charles Jackman, with orders to sail eastwards north of Russia and Asia to the lands of the emperor of Cathay (China). They penetrated through the Kara Strait into the Kara Sea; they possibly saw the west coast of Yalmal, but met with much ice and were compelled to return. The two ships were separatedPet. on the way home, Pet reached London on December 26th in safety; Jackman wintered with his ship in Norway and sailed thence in February, but was never heard of again.
About 1574 the Portuguese probably made an attempt to find the north-west passage under Vasqueanes Corte-Real. They reached “a great entrance,” which may have been Hudson Strait, and they “passed above twentie leagues” into it, “without all impediment of ice,” “but their victailes fayling them, . . . theyVasqueanes Corte-Real. returned backe agayne with ioy.”
After the expeditions in search of the north-east passage achieved the success of opening up a profitable trade with Russia, via the White Sea, new life was inspired in the undertakings of England on the sea, at the same time the power of the Hanseatic merchants, called the Easterlings, was much reduced. It was therefore only natural that the plan of seeking a north-west passage to China and India should again come to the front in England, and it was much discussed. It was Sir Martin Frobisher who opened that long series of Frobisher. expeditions all of which during three hundred years were sent from England in search of the north-west passage until the last expedition, which actually accomplished it, sailed from Norway. “Being persuaded of a new and neerer passage to Cataya” (China) towards the north-west, Frobisher “determined and resolved wyth himselfe, to go make full proofe thereof . . . or else never to retourne againe, knowing this to be the onely thing of the worlde that was left yet undone, whereby a notable mind mighte be made famous and fortunate, ”After having attempted in vain for fifteen years to find support for his enterprise, he at last obtained assistance from Ambrose Dudley, earl of Warwick, and through him the interest of Queen Elizabeth was also secured. The Muscovy Company was now obliged to give a licence for the voyage in 1574, and the necessary money was found by London merchants. Aided especially by Michael Lok, an influential merchant and diligent student of geography, Frobisher sailed, on the 7th (17th) of June 1576, from Deptford with two small vessels of 20 and 25 tons, called the “Gabriel” and “Michael,” and a small pinnace of 10 tons; the crews amounted to 35 men all told. On the 8th (18th) of July they lost sight of the pinnace, which was seen no more. On the 11th (21st) of July they sighted a high, rugged land, but could not approach it for ice. This was the east coast of Greenland, but, misled by his charts, Frobisher assumed it to be the fictitious Frisland, which was the fabrication of a Venetian, Niccolo Zeno, who in 1558 published a spurious narrative and map (which he pretended to have found) as the work of an ancestor and his brother in the 14th century. The Zeno map was chiefly fabricated on the basis of a map by the Swede Olaus Magnus of 1537 and the map by the Dane Claudius Clavus of the 15th century. It was accepted at the time as a work of high authority, and its fictitious names and islands continued to appear on subsequent maps for at least a century, and have puzzled both geographers at home and explorers in the field. These islands had also been introduced on the charts of Mercator of 1 569 and of Ortelius of 1570 which were probably used by Frobisher. Evidently frightened by the sight of the great quantities of ice off the Greenland coast, one ship, the “Michael,” left him secretly, “and returned home wyth greate reporte that he was cast awaye.” The gallant Frobisher continued his voyage towards the north-west in the “Gabriel” alone, although his mast was sprung, his topmast blown overboard, and his “mizen-mast” had had to be cut away in a gale. On the 29th of July (Aug. 8) he sighted high land which he called Queen Elizabeth’s Foreland. This was the southern part of Baffin Land (Resolution Island) in about 62° N. lat He was stopped by ice, but nearly two weeks later he reached the coast and entered an inlet which he considered to be the strait of the north-west passage, and he gave it his own name (it is now Frobisher Bay on Baffin Land). The land was called “Meta Incognita.” Frobisher was not well prepared for going much farther, and after his boat with ive men had disappeared he returned home, where, unfortunately, some “gold-finders” in London took it into their heads that a piece of dark heavy stone brought back contained gold ore. This caused great excitement, it was now considered much more important to collect this precious ore than to find the north-west passage, and much larger expeditions were sent out in the two following years. As many as fifteen vessels formed the third expedition of 1578, and it was the intention to form a colony with a hundred men in the gold land, but this scheme was given up. Frobisher came into Hudson Strait, which was at first thought to be Frobisher Strait and therefore called Mistaken Strait There was an open sea without any land or ice towards the west, and Frobisher was certain that he could sail through to the “Mare del Sur” (Pacific Ocean) and “Kathaya,” but his first goal was the “gold mines,” and the vessels returned home with full loads of the ore. One of them, a buss (small ship) of Bridgwater, called the “Emmanuel,” reported that on her voyage home she had first sighted Frisland on the 8th (18th) of September, but four days later she had sighted another land in the Atlantic and sailed along it till the following day; they reckoned its southern end to be in about 571° N. lat. This land soon found its place on maps and charts south-west of Iceland Land of Buss.under the name of Buss Island, and as it was never seen again it was after 1745 called “the sunken land of Buss” The explanation is that, misled by the maps, Frobisher assumed Greenland to be Frisland of the Zeno map and Baffin Land was afterwards assumed to be the east coast of Greenland. When the buss on her way home sighted Greenland in about 62° N., she therefore thought it to be Frisland, but when she four days later again sighted land near Cape Farewell and her dead reckoning probably had carried her about two degrees too far south, she naturally considered this to be a new land, which puzzled geographers and navigators for centuries. Owing to a similar mistake, not by Frobisher, but by later cartographers and especially by Davis, it was afterwards assumed that Frobisher Strait (and also Mistaken Strait) was not in Baffin Land but on the east coast of Greenland, where they remained on the maps till the 18th century.
John Davis, who made the next attempt to discover a north-west passage, was one of the most scientific seamen of that age. He made three voyages in three successive years aided and fitted out by William Sanderson and other merchants. Sailing from Dartmouth Davis.on the 7th (17th) of June 1585, with two ships, he sighted on the 20th (30th) of July “the most deformed, rocky and mountainous land, that ever we sawe” He named it the Land of Desolation, although he understood that he had rediscovered “the shore which in ancient time was called Groenland.” It was its east coast. He visited the west coast, where Frobisher had also landed mistaking it for Frisland. Davis anchored in a place called Gilbert’s Sound in 64° 10′ (near the present Danish settlement of Godthaab) and had much intercourse with the Eskimo. He then, crossing the strait which bears his name, traced a portion of its western shore southwards from about 66° 40′ N. lat. and came into Cumberland Sound, which he thought to be the strait of the north-west passage, but returned home on account of contrary winds In the second voyage (with four ships) Davis traced the western shore of Davis Strait still farther southwards, and sailed along the coast of Labrador. In the third voyage (With three ships) in 1587 he advanced far up his own strait along the west coast of Greenland in a small leaky pinnace, the “Ellin,” and reached a lofty granite island in 72° 41′ N. lat., which he named Hope Sanderson. He met with ice in the sea west of this place, but reported that there was not “any yce towards the north, but a great sea, free, large, very salt and blew, and of an unsearchable depth.” By contrary winds, however, he was prevented from sailing in that direction. He sailed into Cumberland Sound, but now found that there was no passage He also passed on his way southwards the entrance to Frobisher Strait, which he named Lumley Inlet, and Hudson Strait, without understanding the importance of the latter. When Davis came to Labrador, where his two larger ships were to have waited for him, they had sailed to England. The little “Ellin” now struck a sunken rock and sprung a leak, which was repaired, and he crossed the Atlantic in this small leaky craft. He still believed in the existence of a passage through Davids Strait, but could find no support for another Arctic voyage. Davis was not the first to discover this strait, it was well-known to the Norsemen. Gaspar Corte-Real had possibly also been there, and Frobisher had during his voyages crossed its southern part every year. The result of Davis’s discoveries are shown on the Molyneux globe, which is now in the library of the Middle Temple, they are also shown on the “New Map” in Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1598–1600). When Davis was trying to reconcile his discoveries with the previous ones, especially those of Frobisher, he made fatal mistakes as mentioned above.
As early as 1565, by the intervention of a certain Philip Winterkönig, an exile from Vardöhus in Norway, Dutch merchants formed a settlement in Kola, and in 1578 two Dutch ships anchored in the mouth of the river Dvina, and a Dutch settlement Brunel.was established where Archangel was built a few years later. The leading man in these undertakings was Olivier Brunel, who is thus the founder of the White Sea trade of the Dutch; he was also their first Arctic navigator. He had travelled both overland and along the coast to Siberia and reached the river Ob; he had also visited Kostin Shar on Novaya Zemlya. He propounded plans for the discovery of the north-east passage to China, and in 1581 he went from Russia to Antwerp to prepare an expedition. He probably started with one ship in 1582, on the first Arctic expedition which left the Netherlands. Little is known of its fate except that it ended unsuccessfully with the wreck of the ship in the shallow Pechora Bay, possibly after a vain attempt to penetrate through the Yugor Strait into the Kara Sea. In 1583 we find Olivier Brunel in Bergen trying to organize a Norwegian undertaking, evidently towards the north-east, but it is uncertain whether it led to anything.
The Dutch, however, had begun to see the importance of a
northern route to China and India, especially as the routes
through the southern seas were jealously guarded by the Spaniards
and Portuguese, and after 1584 all trade with Portugal,
where the Dutch got Indian goods, was forbidden. By Brunel’s
efforts their attention had been directed towards the north-east
passage, but it was not until 1594 that a new expedition was
sent out, one of the promoters being Peter Plancius, the
learned cosmographer of Amsterdam. Four ships sailed from
Huysdunen on the 5th (15th) of June 1594. Two of these
ships from Amsterdam were under the command of Willem
Barents, who sighted Novaya Zemlya, north of
Matochkin Shar, on the 4th (14th) of July; andBarents
and Nay. from that date until the 1st (11th) of August Barents continued perseveringly to seek a way through the ice-floes, and discovered the whole western coast as far as the Great Ice Cape, the latitude of which he, with his admirable accuracy, determined to be 77° N . Having reached the Orange Islands at the north-west extremity, he decided to return. The two other ships under the command of Cornelis Nay had discovered the Yugor Strait, through which they sailed into the Kara Sea on the 1st (11th) of August. They reached the west coast of Yalmal; being sure that they had passed the mouth of the river Ob, and finding the sea open, they thought they had found a free passage to Japan and China, and returned home on the 11th (21st) of August A new expedition was made the following year, 1595, with seven ships under the command of Cornelis Nay, as admiral, and Willem Barents as chief pilot, but it merely made several unsuccessful attempts to enter the Kara Sea through the Yugor Strait. The third expedition was more important. Two vessels sailed from Amsterdam on the 10th (20th) of May 1596, under the command of Jacob van Heemskerck and Corneliszoon Rijp. Barents accompanied Heemskerck as pilot, and Gerrit de Veer, the historian of the voyage, was on board as mate. The masses of ice in the straits leading to the Sea of Kara, and the impenetrable nature of the pack near Novaya Zemlya, had suggested the advisability of avoiding the land and, by keeping a northerly course, of seeking a passage in the open sea They sailed northwards, and on the 9th (19th) of June discovered Bear Island Continuing on the same course they sighted a mountainous snow-covered land in about 80° N. lat, soon afterwards being stopped by the polar pack ice This important discovery was named Spitsbergen, and was believed to be a part of Greenland Arriving at Bear Island again on the 1st of July, Rijp parted company, while Heemskerck and Barents proceeded eastward, intending to pass round the northern extreme of Novaya Zemlya. On the 26th of August (Sept. 5) they reached Ice Haven, after rounding the northern extremity of the land. Here they wintered in a house built out of driftwood and planks from the ’tween decks and the deck-house of the vessel In the spring they made their way in boats to the Lapland coast; but Barents died during the voyage This was the first time that an arctic winter was successfully faced The voyages of Barents stand in the first rank among the polar enterprises of the 16th century. They led to flourishing whale and seal fisheries which long enriched the Netherlands.
The English enterprises were continued by the Muscovy Company, and by associations of patriotic merchants of London; and even the East India Company sent an expedition under Captain Waymouth in 1602 to seek for a Waymouth.passage by the opening seen by Davis, but it had no success.
The best servant of the Muscovy Company in the work of polar discovery was Henry Hudson. His first voyage was undertaken in 1607, when he discovered the most northern known point of the east coast of Greenland in 73° N. named “Hold with Hope,” Hudson.and examined the ice between Greenland and Spitsbergen, probably reaching Hakluyt’s Headland in 79° 50′ N. On his way home he discovered the island now called Jan Mayen, which he named “Hudson’s Tutches.” In his second expedition. during the season of 1608, Hudson examined the edge of the ice between Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya In his third voyage he was employed by the Dutch East India Company; he again approached Novaya Zemlya, but was compelled to return westwards, and he explored the coasts of North America, discovering the Hudson river. In 1610 he entered Hudson Strait, and discovered the great bay which bears and immortalizes his name. He was obliged to winter there, undergoing no small hardships. On his way home his crew mutinied and set him, his little son and some sick men adrift in a boat, and the explorer perished in the seas he had opened up.
The voyages of Hudson led immediately to the Spitsbergen whale fishery From 1609 to 1612 Jonas Poole made four voyages for the prosecution of this lucrative business, Whale and he was followed by Fotherby, Baffin, Joseph, and Edge. These bold Spitsbergen Whale Fishery.seamen, while in the pursuit of whales, added considerably to the knowledge of the archipelago of islands known under the name of Spitsbergen, and in 1617 Captain Edge discovered an island to the eastward, which he named Wyche’s Land.
About the same period the kings of Denmark began to send expeditions for the rediscovery of the lost Greenland Danish colony. In 1605 Christian IV. sent out three ships, under the Englishmen Cunningham and Hall and a Dane named Lindenov, Danish Voyages.which reached the western coast of Greenland and had much intercourse with the Eskimo Other expeditions followed in 1606–1607.
Meanwhile, the merchant adventurers of London continued to push forward the western discovery. Sir Thomas Button, in command of two ships, the “Resolution” and “Discovery, ” sailed from England in May 1612. He entered Hudson Bay, crossed to Button.its western shore, and wintered at the mouth of a river in 57° 10′ N. which was named Nelson river after the master of the ship, who died and was buried there. Next year Button explored the shore of Southampton Island as far as 65° N., and returned home in the autumn of 1613. An expedition under Captain Gibbons dispatched in 1614 to Hudson Bay was a failure; but in 1615 Robert Bylot as master and William Baffin as pilot and navigator in the “Discovery” examined the coasts of Hudson Strait and to the north of Hudson Bay, and Baffin, who was the equal of Davis as a scientific seaman, made many valuable observations. Baffin.In 1616 Bylot and Baffin again set out in the “Discovery” Sailing up Davis Strait they passed that navigator’s farthest point at Sanderson’s Hope, and sailed round the great channel with smaller channels leading from it which has been known ever since as Baflin Bay. Baffin named the most northern opening Smith Sound, after the first governor of the East India Company, and the munificent promoter of the voyage, Sir Thomas Smith. Lancaster Sound and Jones Sound were named after other promoters and friends of the voyage. The fame of Baffin mainly rests upon the discovery of a great channel extending north from Davis Strait; but it was unjustly dimmed for many years, owing to the omission of Purchas to publish the navigator’s tabulated journal and map in his great collection of voyages. It was two hundred years before a new expedition sailed north through Baihn Bay. It may be mentioned, as an illustration of the value of these early voyages to modern science, that Professor Hansteen of Christiania made use of Baflin’s magnetic observations in the compilation of his series of magnetic maps. In 1619 Denmark sent out an expedition, under the command of Jens Munk, in search of the north-west passage, with two ships and 64 men. They reached the West coast of Hudson Bay, where they wintered near Churchill river, but all died with the exception of one man, a boy, and Munk himself, who managed to sail home in the smallest ship.
In 1631 two expeditions were dispatched, one by the merchants of London, the other by those of Bristol. In the London ship “Charles” Luke Fox explored the western side of Hudson Bay as far as the place called “Sir Thomas Roe’s Welcome.” Luke Fox; James.In August he encountered Captain James and the Bristol ship “Maria” in the middle of Hudson Bay, and went north until he reached “North-west Fox his farthest,” in 66° 47′ N, He then returned home and wrote an entertaining narrative. Captain James had to winter off Charlton Island, in James Bay, the southern extreme of Hudson Bay, and did not return until October 1632. Another English voyager, Captain Wood, attempted, without success, to discover a north-east passage in 1676 through the sea round the North Pole, but was wrecked on the coast of Novaya Zemlya.
The 16th and 17th centuries were periods of discovery and daring enterprise. Hudson Strait and Bay, Davis Strait and Baffin Bay, the icy seas from Greenland to Spitsbergen and from Spitsbergen to Novaya Zemlya had all been explored; but much more was not discovered than had been well known to the Norsemen five or six centuries earlier. The following century was rather a period of reaping the results of former efforts than of discovery. It saw the settlement of the Hudson Bay Territory and of Greenland, and the development of the whale and seal fisheries.
The Hudson’s Bay Company was incorporated in 1670, and
Prince Rupert sent out Zachariah Gillan, who wintered at
Rupert river. At first very slow progress was made. A voyage
undertaken by Mr Knight, nearly 80 years old, who had been
appointed governor of the factory at Nelson river, was unfortunate,
Scroggs.as his two ships were lost and the crews
perished This was in 1719. In 1722 John Scroggs
was sent from Churchill river in search of the missing ships,
but merely entered Sir Thomas Roe’s Welcome and returned.
His reports were believed to offer decisive proofs of the existence
of a passage into the Pacific; and a naval expedition was dispatched
under the command of Captain Christopher Middleton,
Moor. consisting of the Discovery” pink and the “Furnace” bomb. Wintering in Churchill river, Middleton started in July 1742 and discovered Wager river and Repulse Bay. In 1746 Captain W. Moor made another voyage in the same direction, and explored the Wager Inlet. Later in the century the Hudson’s Bay Company's servants made some important land journeys to discover the shores of the American polar ocean. From 1769 to 1772 Samuel Hearne descended the Coppermine River to the polar sea; and in 1789 Alexander Mackenzie discovered the mouth of the Mackenzie river. (For the establishment of the modern Danish settlements in Greenland, see Greenland.)
The countrymen of Barents vied with the countrymen of Hudson in the perilous calling which annually brought fleets of ships to the Spitsbergen seas during the 17th and 18th centuries The Dutch had their large summer station for boiling down blubber at Smeerenberg, Dutch Whale Fishery.near the northern extreme of the west coast of Spitsbergen. Captain Vlamingh, in 1664, advanced as far round the northern end of Novaya Zemlya as the winter quarters of Barents. In 1700 Captain Cornelis Roule is said by Witsen to have sailed north in the longitude of Novaya Zemlya and to have seen an extent of 40 m. of broken land, but Theunis Ys, one of the most experienced Dutch navigators, believed that no vessel had ever been north of the 82nd parallel. In 1671 Frederick Martens.Martens, a German surgeon, visited Spitsbergen, and wrote the best account of its physical features and natural history that existed previous to the time of Scoresby. In 1707 Captain Cornelis Gilies went far to the eastward along the northern shores of Spitsbergen, and saw land to the east in 80° N., which has since been known as Gilies Land The Dutch geographical knowledge of Spitsbergen was embodied in the famous chart of the Van Keulens (father and son), 1700–1728. The Dutch Whale fishery continued to flourish until the French Revolution, and formed a splendid nursery for training the seamen of the Netherlands. From 1700 to 1775 the whaling fleet numbered 100 ships and upwards. In 1719 the Dutch opened a whale fishery in Davis Strait, and continued to frequent the west coast of Greenland for upwards of sixty years from that time.
The most flourishing period of the British fishery in the Spitsbergen
and Greenland seas was from 1752 to 1820. Bounties
of 40s. per ton were granted by act of parliament;
and in 1778 as many as 255 sail of whalers were
employed. In order to British Whale Fishery.
Scoresby.encourage discovery £5000 was offered in 1776 to the first ship that should sail beyond the 89th parallel (16 Geo. III c. 6). Among the numerous daring and able whaling captains, William Scoresby takes the first rank, alike as a successful whaler and a scientific observer. His admirable Account of the Arctic Regions is still a textbook for all students of the subject. In 1806 he succeeded in advancing his ship “Resolution” as far north as 81° 12′ 42″. In 1822 he forced his way through the ice which encumbers the approach to land on the east coast of Greenland, and surveyed that coast from 75° down to 69° N., a distance of 400 m. Scoresby combined the closest attention to his business with much valuable scientific work and no insignificant amount of exploration.
The Russians, after the acquisition of Siberia, succeeded in
gradually exploring the whole of the northern shores of that vast
region. In 1648 a Cossack named Simon Dezhneff
is said to have equipped a boat expedition in the
river Kolyma, passed Russians.
Chelyuskin.through the strait since named after Bering, and reached the Gulf of Anadyr. In 1738 a voyage was made by two Russian officers from Archangel to the mouths of the Ob and the Yenisei. Efforts Were then made to effect a passage from the Yenisei to the Lena. In 1735 Lieut. T. Chelyuskin got as far as 77° 25′ N. near the cape which bears his name; and in 1743 he rounded that most northern point of Siberia in sledges, in 77° 41′ N. Captain Vitus Bering, a Dane, was appointed by Peter the Great to command an expedition in 1725. Two vessels were built at Okhotsk, and in July 1728 Bering ascertained the existence of a strait between Asia and America. Bering. In 1740 Bering was again employed. He sailed from Okhotsk in a vessel called the “St Paul,” with G. W. Steller on board as naturalist. Their object was to discover the American side of the strait, and they sighted the magnificent peak named by Bering Mt St Elias. The Aleutian Islands were also explored, but the ship was wrecked on an island named after the ill-fated discoverer, and scurvy broke out amongst his crew. Bering himself died there on the 8th of December 1741.
Thirty years after the death of Bering a Russian merchant named Liakhoff discovered the New Siberia or Liakhoff Islands, and in 1771 he obtained the exclusive right from the empress Catherine to dig there for fossil ivory. These islands were more fully Hedenström.explored by an officer named Hedenström in 1809, and seekers for fossil ivory annually resorted to them. A Russian expedition under Captain Chitschakoff, sent to Spitsbergen in 1764, was only able to attain a latitude of 80° 30′ N.
From 1773 onwards to the end of the 19th century the objects of polar exploration were mainly the acquisition of knowledge in various branches of science. It was on these grounds that Daines Barrington and the Royal Society induced the British government to undertake arctic exploration once more. The result was that two vessels, the “Racehorse” and “Carcass” bombs, were commissioned, under the command of Phipps. Captain J. C. Phipps. The expedition sailed from the Nore on the 2nd of June 1773, and was stopped by the ice to the north of Hakluyt Headland, the north-western point of Spitsbergen. Phipps reached the Seven Islands and discovered Walden Island; but beyond this point progress was impossible. When he attained their highest latitude in 80° 48′ N., north of the central part of the Spitsbergen group, the ice at the edge of the pack was 24 ft. thick. Captain Phipps returned to England in September 1773. Five years afterwards James Cook. Cook received instructions to proceed northward from Kamchatka. and search for a north-east or north-west passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic. In accordance with these orders Captain Cook, during his third voyage, reached Cape Prince of Wales, the western extremity of America, on the 9th of August 1778. His ships, the “Resolution” and “Discovery,” arrived at the edge of the ice, after passing Bering Strait, in 70° 41′ N. On the 17th of August the farthest point seen on the American side was named Icy Cape. On the Asiatic side Cook's survey extended to Cape North. In the following year Captain Clerke, who had succeeded to the command, made another voyage, but his ship was beset in the ice, and so much damaged that further attempts were abandoned.
The wars following the French Revolution put an end to voyages of discovery till, after the peace of 1815, north polar research found a powerful and indefatigable advocate in Sir John Barrow. Through his influence a measure for promoting polar discovery Barrow.became law in 1818 (58 Geo. III. c. 20), by which a reward of £20,000 was offered for making the north-West passage, and of £5000 for reaching 89° N., while the commissioners of longitude were empowered to award proportionate sums to those who might achieve certain portions of such discoveries. In 1817 the icy seas were reported by Captain Scoresby and others to be remarkably open, and this circumstance enabled Barrow to obtain sanction for the despatch of two expeditions, each consisting of two whalers—one to attempt discoveries by way of Spitsbergen and the other by Baffin Bay. The vessels for the Spitsbergen route, the “Dorothea” and “Trent,” Were commanded by Captain David Buchan and Lieut. John Franklin, and sailed in April 1818. Driven into the pack by a heavy swell from the south, both vessels were severely nipped, and had to return to England. The other expedition, consisting of the “Isabella” and “Alexander,” commanded by Captain John Ross and Lieut. Edward Parry, followed in the wake of Baffin’s voyage of 1616. Ross sailed from England in April 1818. The chief merit of his voyage was that it vindicated Baffin’s accuracy as a discoverer. Its practical result was that the way was shown to a lucrative fishery in the “North Water” of Baffin Bay, which continued to be frequented by a fleet of whalers every year. Captain Ross thought that the inlets reported by Baffin were merely bays, while the opinion of his second in command was that a wide opening to the westward existed through the Lancaster Sound of Baffin.
Parry was selected to command a new expedition in the following year. His two vessels, the “Hecla” and “Griper,” passed through Lancaster Sound, the continuation of which was named Barrow Strait, and advanced westward, with an archipelago Parry’s First and Second Voyages.on the right, since known as the Parry Islands. He observed a wide opening to the north, which he named Wellington Channel, and sailed onwards for 300 m. to Melville Island. He was stopped by the impenetrable polar pack of vast thickness which surrounds the archipelago to the north of the American continent, and was obliged to winter in a harbour on the south coast of Melville Island. Parry’s hygienic arrangements during the winter were judicious, and the scientific results of his expedition were valuable The vessels returned in October 1820; and a fresh expedition in the “Fury” and “Hecla,” again under the command of Captain Parry, sailed from the Nore on the 8th of May 1821, and passed their first winter on the coast of the newly discovered Melville Peninsula in 66° 11′ N. Still persevering, Parry passed his second winter among the Eskimo at Igloolik in 69° 20′ N., and discovered a channel leading westward from the head of Hudson Bay, which he named Fury and Hecla Strait. The expedition returned in the autumn of 1823. Meantime Parry’s friend Franklin had been employed in attempts to unsuccessful. In 1824 three Franklin’s First Journey. reach by land the northern shores of America, hitherto only touched at two points by Hearne and Mackenzie. Franklin went out in 1819, with Dr John Richardson, George Back and Robert Hood They landed at York factory and proceeded to the Great Slave Lake. In August of the following year they started for the Coppermine river, and, embarking on it, reached its mouth on the 18th of July 1821. From that point 550 m. of coast-line were explored, the extreme point being called Cape Turnagain. Great sufferings, from starvation and cold, had to be endured during the return journey; but eventually Franklin, Richardson and Back arrived safely at Fort Chippewyan.
It was thought desirable that an attempt should be made to
connect the Cape Turnagain of Franklin with the discoveries
made by Parry during his second voyage; but the
first effort, under Captain Lyon in the “Griper,” was
unsuccessful. In 1824 three Parry’s Third Voyage.
Franklin’s Second Journey.combined attempts were organized. While Parry again entered by Lancaster Sound and pushed down a great opening he had seen to the south named Prince Regent Inlet, Captain Beechey was to enter Bering Strait, and Franklin was to make a second journey by land to the shores of Arctic America. Parry was unfortunate, but Beechey entered Bering Strait in the “Blossom” in August 1826, and extended our knowledge as far as Point Barrow in 71° 23′ 30″ N. lat. Franklin, in 1825–1826, descended the Mackenzie river to its mouth, and explored the coast for 374 m. to the westward; while Dr Richardson discovered the shore between the mouths of the Mackenzie and Coppermine, and sighted land to the northward, named by him Wollaston Land, the dividing channel being called Union and Dolphin Strait. They returned in the autumn of 1826.
Work was also being done in the Spitsbergen and Barents
Seas. From 1821 to 1824 the Russian Captain Lütke was
surveying the West coast of Novaya Zemlya as far as
Cape Nassau, and examining the ice of the adjacent
sea. In May 1823 the “Griper” sailed, Lütke.
Clavering.under the command of Captain Clavering, to convey Captain Sabine to the polar regions in order to make pendulum observations. Clavering pushed through the ice in 75° 30′ N., and succeeded in reaching the east coast of Greenland, where observations were taken on Pendulum Island. He charted the coast-line from 76° to 72° N.
In Parry’s attempt to reach the pole from the northern coast of Spitsbergen by means of sledge-boats (see Parry), the highest latitude reached was 82° 45′ N., and the attempt was persevered in until it was found that the ice as a whole was drifting to the south more rapidly than it was possible to travel over it to the north.
In 1829 the Danes undertook an interesting piece of exploration on the east coast of Greenland. Captain Grash of the Danish navy rounded Cape Farewell in boats, with four Europeans and twelve Eskimo. He advanced as far as 65° 18′ N. on the Grash.east coast, where he was stopped by an insurmountable barrier of ice. He wintered in 63° 22′ N., and returned to the settlements on the west side of Greenland in 1830.
In the year 1829 Captain John Ross, with his nephew James Clark Ross, having been furnished with funds by a wealthy distiller named Felix Booth, undertook a private expedition of discovery in a small vessel called the “Victory.” Ross proceeded down The Rosses.Prince Regent Inlet to the Gulf of Boothia, and wintered on the eastern side of a land named by him Boothia Felix. In the course of exploring excursions during the summer months James Ross crossed the land and discovered the position of the north magnetic pole on the western side of it, on the 1st of June 1831. He also discovered a land to the westward of Boothia which he named King William Land, and the northern shore of which he examined. The most northern point was called Cape Felix, and thence the coast trended south-west to Victory Point. The Rosses could not get their little vessel out of its winter quarters. They passed three winters there, and then fell back on the stores at Fury Beach, Where they passed their fourth winter, 1832–1833. Eventually they were picked up by a whaler in Barrow Strait, and brought home. Great anxiety was naturally felt at their prolonged absence, and in 1833 Sir George Back, with Dr Richard King as a companion, set out by land in search of the missing Back. explorers. Wintering at the Great Slave Lake, they left Fort Reliance on the 7th of June 1834, and descended the Great Fish river for 530 m. The mouth was reached in 67° 11′ N., and then the want of supplies obliged them to return. In 1836 Sir George Back was sent, at the suggestion of the Royal Geographical Society, to proceed to Repulse Bay in his ship, the “Terror,” and tl1en to cross an assumed isthmus and examine the coastline thence to the mouth of the Great Fish river; but the ship was obliged to winter in the drifting pack, and was brought home in a sinking condition.
The tracing of the polar shores of America was completed by the Hudson’s Bay Company’s servants. In June 1837 Thomas Simpson and P. W. Dease left Chippewyan, reached the mouth of the Mackenzie, and connected that position with Point Barrow, which had been Simpson and Dease.discovered by the “Blossom” in 1826. In 1839 Simpson passed Cape Turnagain of Franklin, tracing the coast eastward so as to connect with Back’s work at the mouth of the Great Fish river. He landed at Montreal Island in the mouth of that river, and then advanced eastward as far as Castor and Pollux river, his farthest eastern point. On his return he travelled along the north side of the channel, the south shore of the King William Island discovered by James Ross. The south-western point of this island was named Cape Herschel, and there Simpson built a cairn on the 26th of August 1839. Little remained to do in order to complete the delineation of the northern shores of the American continent, and this task was entrusted to Dr John Rae, a Hudson’s Bay factor, inRae. 1846. He went in boats to Repulse Bay, where he wintered in a stone hut nearly on the Arctic Circle; and there he and his six Orkney men maintained themselves on the deer they shot. During the spring of 1847 Dr Rae explored on foot the shores of a great gulf having 700 m. of coast-line. He thus connected the work of Parry, at the mouth of Fury and Hecla Strait, with the work of Ross on the coast of Boothia, proving that Boothia was part of the American continent.
While British explorers were thus working hard to solve some of the geographical problems relating to Arctic America, the Russians were similarly engaged in Siberia. In 1821 Lieut. P. F. Anjou made a complete survey of the New Siberia Islands, and came to the conclusion that it was not possible to advance far from them in a northerly direction, owing to the thinness of the ice and to open water existing within 20 or 30 m. Baron Wrangell prosecuted similar investigations from the mouth of the Kolynia between 1820 and 1823. He made four journeys with dog sledges, exploring the coast between Cape Chelagskoi and the Kolyma, and making attempts to extend his journeys to some distance from the land, but he was always stopped by thin ice. In 1843 Middendorf was sent to explore the region which terminates in Cape Chelyuskin. He reached Taimyr Bay in the height of the short summer, whence he saw open water and no ice blink in any direction. The whole arctic shore of Siberia had now been explored and delineated, but no vessel had yet rounded the extreme northern point.
The success of Sir James Ross’s Antarctic expedition and the completion of the northern coast-line of America by the Hudson’s Bay Company’s servants gave rise in 1845 to a fresh attempt to make the passage from Lancaster Sound to Bering Strait The story of the unhappy expedition of Sir John Franklin, in the “Erebus” and “Terror,” is told under Franklin, but some geographical details may be given here The heavy polar ice flows south-east between Melville and Baring Islands, down M‘Clintock Channel, and impinges on the north-west coast of King William Land It was this branch from the “palaeocrystic” sea which finally stopped the progress of Franklin’s expedition On leaving the winter quarters at Beechey Island in 1846 Franklin found a channel leading south, along the western shore of the land of North Somerset discovered by Parry in 1819 If he could reach the channel on the American coast, he knew that he would be able to make his way along it to Bering Strait This channel, now called Peel Sound, pointed directly to the south. He sailed down it towards King William Island, with land on both sides. But directly the southern point of the western land was passed and no longer shielded the channel, the great ice stream from Melville Island, pressing on King William Island, was encountered and found impassable Progress might have been made by rounding the eastern side of King William Island, but its insularity was then unknown.
It was not until 1848 that anxiety began to be felt about the Franklin expedition. In the spring of that year Sir James Ross was sent with two ships, the “Enterprise” and “Investigator,” by way of Lancaster Sound. He wintered at Leopold Harbour, near the north-east point of North Devon. In the spring he made a long sledge journey with Lieut. Leopold M‘Clintock along the northern and western coasts of North Somerset, but found nothing.
On the return of the Ross expedition without any tidings, the country became thoroughly alarmed. An extensive plan of search was organized—the “Enterprise” and “Investigator” under Collinson and M‘Clure proceeding by Bering Strait, while the “Assistance” and “Resolute,” with two steam tenders, the “Pioneer” and “Intrepid,” sailed on the 3rd of May 1850 to renew the search by Barrow Strait, under Captain Horatio Austin. Two brigs, the “Lady Franklin” and “Sophia,” under William Penny, an energetic and able whaling captain, were sent by the same route. He had with him Dr Sutherland, a naturalist, who did much valuable scientific work. Austin and Penny entered Barrow Strait, and Franklin’s winter quarters of 1845–1846 were discovered at Beechey Island; but there was no record of any kind indicating the direction taken by the ships. Stopped by the ice, Austin’s expedition wintered (1850–1851) in the pack off Griffith Island, and Penny found refuge in a harbour on the south coast of Cornwallis Island. Austin, who had been with Parry during his third voyage, was an admirable organizer. His arrangements for passing the winter were carefully thought out and answered perfectly. In concert with Penny he planned a thorough and extensive system of search by means of sledge-travelling in the spring, and Lieut. M‘Clintock superintended every detail of this part of the work with unfailing forethought and skill Penny undertook the search by Wellington Channel. M‘Clintock advanced to Melville Island, marching over 770 m. in eighty-one days; Captain Ommanney and Sherard Osborn pressed southward and discovered Prince of Wales Island Lieut. Brown examined the western shore of Peel Sound. The search was exhaustive; but, except the winter quarters at Beechey Island, no record was discovered. The absence of any record made Captain Austin doubt whether Franklin had ever gone beyond Beechey Island, so he also examined the entrance of Jones Sound, the next inlet from Baffin Bay north of Lancaster Sound, on his way home, and returned to England in the autumn of 1851. This was a thoroughly well conducted expedition, especially as regards the sledge-travelling, which M‘Clintock brought to great perfection. So far as the search for Franklin was concerned, nothing remained to be done west or north of Barrow Strait.
In 1851 the “Prince Albert” schooner was sent out by Lady Franklin, under Captain Wm. Kennedy, with Lieut. Bellot of the French navy as second. They wintered on the east coast of North Somerset, and in the spring of 1852 the gallant Frenchman, in the course of a long sledging journey, discovered Bellot Strait, separating North Somerset from Boothia—thus proving that the Boothia coast facing the strait was the northern extremity of the continent of America.
The “Enterprise” and “Investigator” sailed from England in January 1850, but accidentally parted company before they reached Bering Strait. On the 6th of May 1851 the “Enterprise” passed the strait, and rounded Point Barrow on the 25th. Collinson then made his way up the narrow Prince of Wales Strait, between Banks and Prince Albert Islands, and reached Princess Royal Islands, where M‘Clure had been the previous year. Returning southwards, the “Enterprise” wintered in a sound in Prince Albert Island in 71° 35′ N. and 117° 35′ W. Three travelling parties were dispatched in the spring of 1852—one to trace Prince Albert Land in a southerly direction, while the others explored Prince of Wales Strait, one of them reaching Melville Island. In September 1852 the ship was free, and Collinson pressed eastward along the coast of North America, reaching Cambridge Bay (Sept. 26), where the second winter was passed. In the spring he examined the shores of Victoria Land as far as 70° 26′ N and 100° 45′ W.. here he was within a few miles of Point Victory, where the fate of Franklin would have been ascertained. The “Enterprise” again put to sea on the 5th of August 1853, and returned westward along the American coast, until she was stopped by ice and obliged to pass a third winter at Camden Bay, in 70° 8′ N and 145° 29′, W. In 1854 this remarkable voyage was completed, and Captain Collinson brought the “Enterprise” back to England.
Meanwhile M‘Clure in the “Investigator” had passed the winter of 1850–1851 at the Princess Royal Islands, only 30 m from Barrow Strait. In October MM‘Clure ascended a hill whence he could see the frozen surface of Barrow Strait, which was navigated by Parry in 1819–1820 Thus, like the survivors of Franklin’s crews when they reached Cape Herschel, M‘Clure discovered a north-west passage It was impossible to reach it, for the stream of heavily packed ice which stopped Franklin off King William Land lay athwart their northward course; so, as soon as he was free in 1851, M‘Clure turned southwards, round the southern extreme of Banks Land, and commenced to force a passage to the northward between the western shore of that land and the enormous fields of ice which pressed upon it. The cliffs rose like walls on one side, while on the other the stupendous ice of the “palaeocrystic sea” rose from the water to a level with the “Investigator’s” lower yards. After many hairbreadth escapes M‘Clure took refuge in a bay on the northern shore of Banks Land which he named the Bay of God’s Mercy. Here the “Investigator” remained, never to move again. After the winter of 1851–1852 M‘Clure had made a journey across the ice to Melville Island, and left a record at Parry’s winter harbour. Abundant supplies of musk ox were fortunately obtained, but a third winter had to be faced. In the spring of 1853 M‘Clure was preparing to abandon the ship with all hands, and attempt, like Franklin’s crews, to reach the American coast, but succour arrived in time.
The Hudson’s Bay Company continued the search for Franklin. In 1848 Sir John Richardson and Dr Rae examined the American coast from the mouth of the Mackenzie to that of the Coppermine. In 1849 and 1850 Rae continued the search, and by a long sledge Rae’s journeys.journey in the spring of 1851, and a boat voyage in the summer, he examined the shores of Wollaston and Victoria Lands, which were afterwards explored by Captain Collinson in the “Enterprise.”
In 1852 the British government resolved to despatch another expedition by Lancaster Sound. Austin’s four vessels were recommissioned, and the “North Star” was sent out as a dépot ship at Beechey Island. Sir Edward Belcher commanded the “Assistance,” with the “Pioneer”Belcher. under Sherard Osborn as steam tender. He went up Wellington Channel to Northumberland Bay, where he wintered, passing a second winter lower down in Wellington Channel, and then abandoning his ships and coming home in 1854. But Sherard Osborn and Com. G. H. Richards did good work. They made sledge journeys to Melville Island, and thus discovered the northern side of the Parry group. Captain Kellett received command of the Kellett.“Resolute,” with M‘Clintock in the steam tender “Intrepid.” Among Kellett’s officers were the best of Austin’s sledge-travellers, M‘Clintock, Mecham, and Vesey Hamilton, so that good work was sure to be done. George S. Nares, leader of the future expedition of 1874–1875, was also on board the “Resolute” Kellett pressed onwards to the westv ard and passed the winter of 1852–1853 at Melville Island. During the autumn Mecham discovered M‘Clure’s record, and the position of the “Investigator” was thus ascertained. Lieut. Pim made his way to this point early in the following spring, and the officers and crew of the “Investigator,” led by M‘Clure, arrived safely on board the “Resolute” on the 17th of June 1853. They reached England in the following year, having not only discovered but traversed a north-west passage, though not in the same ship and partly by travelling over ice. For this great feat M‘Clure received the honour of knighthood, and a reward of £10,000 was granted to himself, the other officers, and the crew, by a vote of the House of Commons.
The travelling parties of Kellett’s expedition, led by M‘Clintock, Mecham and Vesey Hamilton, completed the discovery of the northern and western sides of Melville Island, and the whole outline of the large island of Prince Patrick, further west. M‘Clintock was away from the ship with his sledge party for one hundred and ive days, and travelled over 1328 m. Mecham was away ninety-four days, and travelled over 1163 m. Sherard Osborn, in 1853, was away ninety-seven days, and travelled over 935 m The “Resolute” was obliged to winter in the pack in 1853–1854, and in the spring of 1854 Mecham made a remarkable journey in the hope of obtaining news of Captain Collinson at the Princess Royal Islands. Leaving the ship on the 3rd of April he was absent seventy days, out of which there were sixty-one and a half days of travelling. The distance gone over was 1336 statute miles. The average rate of the homeward journey was 231 m. a day, the average time of travelling each day nine hours twenty-five minutes.
Fearing detention for another winter, Sir Edward Belcher ordered all the ships to be abandoned in the ice, the officers and crews being taken home in the “North Star,” and in the “Phoenix” and “Talbot,” which had come out from England to communicate. Inglefield.They reached home in October 1854. In 1852 Captain Edward A. Inglefield, R N., had made a voyage up Baffin Bay in the “Isabel” as far as the entrance of Smith Sound. In 1853 and 1854 he came out in the “Phoenix” to communicate with the “North Star” at Beechey Island.
The drift of the “Resolute” was a remarkable proof of the direction of the current out of Barrow Strait She was abandoned in 74° 41′ N. and 101° 11′ W. on the 14th of May 1854 On the 10th of September 1855 an American whaler sighted the “Resolute” in 67° N. Drift of the “Resolute.”lat. about twenty miles from Cape Mercy, in Davis Strait. She had drifted nearly a thousand miles, and having been brought into an American port, was purchased by the United States and presented to the British government.
In 1853 Dr Rae was employed to connect a few points which would quite complete the examination of the coast of America, and establish the insularity of King William Land. He went up Chesterfield Inlet and the river Quoich, wintering with eight men Rae’s Discovery.at Repulse Bay, where venison and fish were abundant. In 1854 he set out on a journey which occupied fifty-six days in April and May. He succeeded in connecting the discoveries of Simpson with those of James Ross, and thus established the fact that King William Land was an island. Rae also brought home the first tidings and relics of Franklin’s expedition gathered from the Eskimo, which decided the Admiralty to award him the £10,000 offered for definite news of Franklin’s fate. Lady Franklin, however, sent out the “Fox” under the command of M‘Clintock (see Franklin). M‘Clintock prosecuted an exhaustive search over part of the west coast of Boothia, the whole of the shores of King William Island, the mouth of the Great Fish river and Montreal Island, and Allen Young completed the discovery of the southern side of Prince of Wales Island.
The catastrophe of Sir John Franklin’s expedition led to 7000 m. of coast-line being discovered, and to a vast extent of unknown country being explored, securing very considerable additions to geographical knowledge.
The American nation was first led to take an interest in Polar research through a noble and generous sympathy for Franklin and his companions. Mr Grinnell of New York gave practical expression to this feeling. In 1850 he equipped two vessels, the Grinnell Expedition.“Advance” and “Rescue,” to aid in the search, commanded by Lieuts. de Haven and Griffith, and accompanied by Dr E. K. Kane. They reached Beechey Island on the 27th of August 1850, and assisted in the examination of Franklin’s winter quarters, but returned without wintering. In 1853 Dr Kane, in the little brig “Advance,” of 120 tons, undertook to lead an American expedition up Smith Sound,Kane. the most northern outlet from Baffin Bay. The “Advance” reached Smith Sound on the 7th of August 1853, but was stopped by ice in 78° 45′ N. only 17 m. from the entrance. Kane described the coast as consisting of precipitous cliffs 800 to 1200 ft. high, and at their base there was a belt of ice about 18 ft. thick, resting on the beach. Dr Kane adopted the Danish name of “ice-foot” (is fod) for this permanent frozen ledge. He named the place of his winter quarters Van Rensselaer Harbour. In the spring some interesting work was done. A great glacier was discovered with a sea face 45 m. long and named the Humboldt glacier. Dr Kane’s steward, Morton, crossed the foot of this glacier with a team of dogs, and reached a point of land beyond named Cape Constitution. But sickness and want of means prevented much from being done by travelling parties. Scurvy attacked the whole party during the second winter, although the Eskimo supplied them with fresh meat and were true friends in need. On the 17th of May 1855 Dr Kane abandoned the brig, and reached the Danish settlement of Upernivik on the 5th of August. Lieut. Hartstene, who was sent out to search for Kane, reached the Van Rensselaer Harbour after he had gone, but took the retreating crew on board on his return voyage.
On the 10th of July 1860 Dr I. I. Hayes, who had served with Kane, sailed from Boston for Smith Sound, in the schooner “United States,” of 130 tons and a crew of fifteen men. His object was to follow up the line of research opened by Dr Kane. He wintered Hayes.at Port Foulke, in 78° 17′ N., but achieved nothing of importance, and his narrative is not to be depended on.
Charles Hall (q.v.), in his first journey (1860–1862), discovered remains of a stone house which Sir Martin Frobisher built on the Countess of Warwick Island in 1578. In his second expedition (1864–1869) Hall reached the line of the retreat of the Franklin Hall.survivors, at Todd's Island and Peffer River, on the south coast of King William Island. He heard the story of the retreat and of the wreck of one of the ships from the Eskimo, he was told that seven bodies were buried at Todd Island, and he brought home some bones which are believed to be those of Lieut. Le Vescomte of the “Erebus.” Finally, in 1871 he took the “Polaris” for 250 m. up the channel which leads northwards from Smith Sound. The various parts of this long channel are called Smith Sound, Kane Basin, Kennedy Channel and Robeson Channel. The “Polaris” was beset in 82° 11′ N. on the 30th of August; her winter quarters were in Thank God Harbour, 81° 38′ N ., and here Hall died.
The Spitsbergen seas were explored during last century by Norwegian fishermen as well as by Swedish and German expeditions and by British yachtsmen. In 1827 the Norwegian geologist Keilhau made an expedition to Bear Island and Spitsbergen Norwegian Explorers.which was the first purely scientific Arctic expedition. The Norwegian Spitsbergen fishery dates from 1820, but it was only in the latter part of the century that Professor Mohn of Christiania carefully collected information from the captains who had taken part in the work when at its height. In 1863 Captain Carlsen circumnavigated the Spitsbergen group for the first time in a brig called the “Jan Mayen.” In 1864 Captain Tobiesen sailed round North-East Land. In 1872 Captains Altmann and Nils Johnsen visited Wiche's Land, which was discovered by Captain Edge in 1617. In that year there were twenty-three sailing vessels from Tromso, twenty-four from Hammerfest, and one from Vardo engaged in the Arctic sealing trade, averaging from 35 to 40 tons, and carrying a dozen men. Exploration went on slowly, in the course of the sealing and fishing voyages, the records of which are not very full. In 1869 Carlsen crossed the Kara Sea and reached the mouth of the Ob. In 1870 there were about sixty Norwegian vessels in the Barents Sea, and Captain Johannesen circumnavigated Novaya Zemlya. In 1873 Captain Tobiesen was unfortunately obliged to winter on the Novaya Zemlya coast, owing to the loss of his schooner, and both he and his young son died in the spring. Two years previously Captain Carlsen had succeeded in reaching the winter quarters of Barents, the first visitor since 1597, an interval of two hundred and seventy-fonr years. He landed on the 9th of September 1871, and found the house still standing and full of interesting relics, which are now in the naval museum at the Hague.
Between 1858 and 1872 the Swedes sent seven expeditions to Spitsbergen and two to Greenland, marking a new scientific era in Arctic exploration, of which Keilhau had been the pioneer. All returned with valuable scientific results. That of 1864 Swedish Expeditions.under A. E. Nordenskiöld and Duner made observations at 80 different places on the Spitsbergen shores, and fixed the heights of numerous mountains. In 1868, in an iron steamer, the “Sophia,” the Swedes attained a latitude of 81° 42′ N. on the meridian of 18° E, during the month of September. In 1872 an expedition, consisting of the “Polhem” steamer and brig “Gladen,” commanded by Professor Nordenskiöld and Lieut. Palander, wintered in Mossel Bay on the northern shore of Spitsbergen. In the spring an important sledging journey of sixty days' duration was made over North-East Land. The expedition was in some distress as regards supplies owing to two vessels, which were to have returned, having been forced to winter. But in the summer of 1873 they were visited by Mr Leigh Smith, in his yacht “Diana,” who supplied them with fresh provisions.
Dr A. Petermann of Gotha urged his countrymen to take their share in the work of polar discovery, and at his own risk he fitted out a small vessel called the “Germania,” which sailed from Bergen in May 1868, under the command of Captain Koldewey. Koldewey.His cruise extended to Hinlopen Strait in Spitsbergen, but was merely tentative; and in 1870 Baron von Heuglin with Count Zeil explored the Stor Fjord in a Norwegian schooner, and also examined Walter Thymen Strait. After the return of the “Germania” in 1868 a regular expedition was organized under the command of Captain Koldewey, provisioned for two years. It consisted of the “Germania,” a screw steamer of 140 tons, and the brig “Hansa,” by Captain Hegemann. Lieut. Julius Payer, the commanded
future explorer of Franz Josef Land, gained his first Arctic experience on board the “Germania.” The expedition sailed from Bremen on the 15th of June 1869, its destination being the east coast of Greenland. But in latitude 70° 46′ N. the “Hansa ” got separated from her consort and crushed in the ice. The crew built a house of patent fuel on the floe, and in this strange abode they passed their Christmas. In two months the current carried them 400 m. to the south. By May they had drifted 1100 m. on their ice-raft, and finally, on the 14th of June 1870, they arrived safely at the Moravian mission station of Friedriksthal, to the west of Cape Farewell. Fairer fortune attended the “Germania.” She sailed up the east coast of Greenland as far as 75° 30′ N., and eventually wintered at the Pendulum Islands of Clavering in 74° 30′ N. In March 1870 a travelling party set out under Koldewey and Payer, and reached a distance of 100 m. from the ship to the northward, when want of provisions compelled them to return. A grim cape, named after Prince Bismarck, marked the northern limit of their discoveries. As soon as the vessel was free, a deep branching fjord, named Franz Josef Fjord, was discovered in 73° 15′ N . stretching for a long distance into the interior of Greenland. The expedition returned to Bremen on the 11th of September 1870.
Lieut. Payer was resolved to continue in the path of polar discovery. He and the naval officer Weyprecht chartered a Norwegian schooner called the “Isbjorn,” and examined the edge of the ice between Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya, in the Payer and Weyprecht.summer of 1871. Their observations led them to select the route by the north end of Novaya Zemlya with a view to making the north-east passage. It was to be an Austro-Hungarian expedition, and the idea was seized with enthusiasm by the whole monarchy. Weyprecht was to command the ship, while Julius Payer conducted the sledge parties. The steamer “Tegethoff,” of 300 tons, was fitted out in the Elbe, and left Tromso on the 14th of July 1872. The season was severe, and the vessel was closely beset near Cape Nassau, at the northern end of Novaya Zemlya, in the end of August. The summer of 1873 found her still a close prisoner drifting, not with a current, but chiefly in the direction of the prevailing wind. At length, on the 31st of August, a mountainous country was sighted about 14 m. to the north. In October the vessel was drifted within 3 m. of an island lying off the main mass of land. Payer landed on it, and found the latitude to be 79° 54′ N. It was named after Count Wilczek, one of the warmest friends of the expedition. Here the second winter was passed. Bears were numerous and sixty-seven were killed, their meat proving to be an efficient preventive of scurvy. In March 1874 Payer made a preliminary sledge journey in intense cold (thermometer at −58° F.). On the 24th of March he started for a more prolonged journey of thirty days. Payer believed that the newly discovered country equalled Spitsbergen in extent, and described it as consisting of two or more large masses—Wilczek Land to the east, Zichy Land to the west, intersected by numerous fjords and skirted by a large number of islands. A wine channel, named Austria Sound, was supposed to separate the two main masses of land, and extend to 82° N. The whole country was named Franz Josef Land. Payer's large land-masses have by later discoveries been broken up into groups of islands and much of the land he thought he saw towards the east was found by Nansen not to exist. Payer returned to the “Tegethoff” on the 24th of April; and a third journey was undertaken to explore a large island named after M‘Clintock. It then became necessary to abandon the ship and attempt a retreat in boats. This perilous voyage was commenced on the 20th of May. Three boats stored with provisions were placed on sledges. It was not until the 14th of August that they reached the edge of the pack in 77° 40′ N., and launched the boats. Eventually they were picked up by a Russian schooner and arrived at Varuo on the 3rd of September 1874.
One of the most interesting problems connected with the physical geography of the polar regions is the actual condition of the vast elevated interior of Greenland, which is one enormous glacier. In 1867 Mr Edward Whymper planned an expedition to Whymper.solve the question, and went to Greenland, accompanied by Dr Robert Brown, but their progress was stopped, after going a short distance over the ice, by the breaking down of the dog-sledges. The expedition brought home geological and natural history collections of value. Dr H. Rink, for many years royal inspector of South Greenland and the most distinguished authority on all Greenlandic questions, also visited the inland ice. An important inland journey was undertaken by Professor A. E. Nordenskiöld in 1870, accompanied Norden-skiöld in Greenland.by Dr Berggren, professor of botany at Lund. The difficulty of traversing the inland ice of Greenland is caused by the vast ice-cap being in constant motion, advancing slowly towards the sea. This movement gives rise to huge crevasses which bar the traveller's way. The chasms occur chiefly where the movement of the ice is most rapid, near the ice streams which reach the sea and discharge icebergs. Nordenskiöld therefore chose for a starting-point the northern arm of a deep inlet called Auleitsivikfjord, which is 60 m. south of the discharging glacier at Jakobshavn and 240 north of that at Godthaab. He commenced his inland journey on the 19th of July. The party consisted of himself, Dr Berggren, and two Greenlanders, and they advanced 30 m. over the glaciers to a height of 2200 ft. above the sea.
The gallant enterprises of other countries rekindled the zeal of Great Britain for Arctic discovery; and in 1874 the prime minister announced that an expedition would be dispatched in the following year. Two powerful steamers, the “Alert” and British Expedition of 1875.“Discovery,” were selected for the service, and Captain George S. Nares was recalled from the “Challenger” expedition to act as leader. Commander Albert H. Markham who had made a cruise up Baffin Bay and Barrow Strait in a whaler during the previous year, Lieut Pelham Aldrich, an accomplished surveyor, and Captain Henry Wemyss Feilden, R.A., as naturalist, were also in the “Alert.” The “Discovery” was commanded by Captain Henry F. Stephenson, with Lieut. Lewis A. Beaumont as first lieutenant. The expedition left Portsmouth on the 29th of May 1875, and entered Smith Sound in the last days of July. After much difficulty with drifting ice Lady Franklin Bay was reached in 81° 44′ N., where the “Discovery” was established in winter quarters. The “Alert” pressed onwards, and reached the edge of the heavy ice named by Nares the palaeocrystic sea, the ice-floes being from 80 to 100 ft. in thickness. Leaving Robeson Channel, the vessel made progress between the land and the grounded floe pieces, and passed the winter oil the open coast and facing the great polar pack, in 82° 27′ N. Autumn travelling parties were dispatched in September and October to lay out depots; and during the winter a complete scheme was matured for the examination of as much of the unknown area as possible, by the combined efforts of sledging parties from the two ships, in the ensuing spring. The parties started on the 3rd of April 1876. Captain Markham with Lieut. Parr advanced, in the face of great difficulties, over the polar pack to the latitude of 83° 20′ N. Lieut. Aldrich explored the coast-line to the westward, facing the frozen polar ocean, for a distance of 220 m. Lieut. Beaumont made discoveries of great interest along the northern coast of Greenland. The parties were attacked by scurvy, which increased the difficulty and hardships of the work a hundredfold. The expedition returned to England in October 1876. The “Alert” reached a higher latitude and wintered farther north than any ship had ever done before. The results of the expedition were the discovery of 300 m. of new coast line, the examination of part of the frozen polar ocean, a series of meteorological, magnetic and tidal observations at two points farther north than any such observations had ever been taken before, and large geological and natural history collections.
In the same year 1875 Sir Allen Young undertook a voyage
in his steam yacht the “Pandora” to attempt to force his way
down Peel Sound to the magnetic pole, and if possible
to make the north-west passage by rounding the
eastern shore of King William Voyages
of the “Pandora.”Island. The “Pandora” entered Peel Sound on the 29th of August 1875, and proceeded down it much farther than any vessel had gone since it was passed by Franklin's two ships in 1846. Sir Allen reached a latitude of 72° 14′ N, and sighted Cape Bird, at the northern side of the western entrance of Bellot Strait. But here ice barred his progress, and he was obliged to retrace his track, returning to England on the 16th of October 1875. In the following year Sir Allen Young made another voyage in the “Pandora” to the entrance of Smith Sound.
Lieut. Koolemans Beynen, a young Dutch officer, who had shared Young's two polar voyages, on his return successfully endeavoured to interest his countrymen in polar discovery. It was wisely determined that the first expeditions of Holland should Dutch Ex-peditions.be summer reconnaissances on a small scale. A sailing schooner of 79 tons was built at Amsterdam. and named the “Willem Barents.” In her first cruise she was commanded by Lieut. A. de Bruyne, with Koolemans Beynen as second, and she sailed from Holland on the 6th of May 1878. Her instructions were to examine the ice in the Barents and Spitsbergen seas, take deep-sea soundings, and make natural history collections. She was also to erect memorials to early Dutch polar worthies at certain designated points. These instructions were ably and zealously carried out. Beynen died in the following year, but the work he initiated was carried on, the “Willem Barents” continuing to make annual polar cruises for many years.
In 1879 Sir Henry Gore-Booth and Captain A. H. Markham, R.N., in the Norwegian schooner “Isbjorn” sailed along the west coast of Novaya Zemlya to its most northern point, passed through the Matochkin Shar to the east coast, and examined the Gore-Booth and Markham.ice in the direction of Franz Josef Land as far as 78° 24'N., bringing home collections in various branches of natural history, and making useful observations on the drift and nature of the ice in the Barents and Kara Seas.
In 1880 Mr B. Leigh Smith, who had previously made three Voyages to Spitsbergen, reached Franz Josef Land in the polar steam yacht “Eira.” It was observed that, while the Greenland icebergs are generally angular and peaked, those of Franz Josef Leigh Smith.Land are flat on the top, like the Antarctic bergs. The “Eira” sailed along the south side of Franz Josef Land to the westward and discovered 110 m. of coast-line of a new island named Alexandra Land, until the coast trended north-west. A landing was effected at several points, and valuable collections were made in natural history. In the following year the same explorer left Peterhead on the 14th of July, Franz Josef Land was sighted on the 23rd of July, and the “Fira” reached a point farther west than had been possible in her previous voyage. But in August the ship was caught in the ice, was nipped, and sank. A hut was built on shore in which Mr Leigh Smith and his crew passed the winter of 1881-1882, their health being well maintained, thanks to the exertions of Dr W. H. Neale. On the 21st of June 1882 they started in four boats to reach some vessels on the Novaya Zemlya coast. It was a most laborious and perilous voyage. They were first seen and welcomed by the “Willem Barents” on the 2nd of August, and soon afterwards were taken on board the “Hope,” a whaler which had come out to search for them under the command of Sir Allen Young.
Professor A. E. Nordenskiöld, when he projected the achievement of the north-east passage, was a veteran polar explorer, for he had been in six previous expeditions to Greenland and Spitsbergen. In 1875 he turned his attention to the possibility of navigating the seas along the northern coast of Siberia. Captain Joseph Wiggins of Sunderland was a pioneer of this route, and his voyages in 1874, 1875 and 1876 led the way for a trade between the ports of Europe and the mouth of the Yenisei River. In June 1875 Professor Nordenskiöld sailed from Norden-skiöld and the N.E. Passage. Tromso in the Norwegian vessel, the “Proven,” reached the Yenisei by way of the Kara Sea, and discovered an excellent harbour on the eastern side of its mouth, which was named Port Dickson, in honour of Baron Oscar Dickson of Gothenburg, the munificent supporter of the Swedish expeditions. It having been suggested that the success of this voyage was due to the unusual state of the ice in 1875, Nordenskiöld undertook a voyage in the following year in the “Ymer,” which was equally successful. By a minute study of the history of former attempts, and a careful consideration of all the circumstances, Professor Nordenskiöld convinced himself that the achievement of the north-east passage was feasible. The king of Sweden, Baron Oscar Dickson, and M. Sibiriakoff, a wealthy Siberian proprietor, supplied the funds, and the steamer “Vega” was purchased. Nordenskiöld was leader of the expedition, Lieut. Palander was appointed commander of the ship, and there was an efficient staff of officers and naturalists, including Lieut. Hovgaard of the Danish and Lieut. Bove of the Italian navy. A small steamer called the “Lena” was to keep company with the “Vega” as far as the mouth of the Lena, and they sailed from Gothenburg on the 4th of July 1878. On the morning of the 10th of August they left Port Dickson, and on the 19th they reached the most northern point of Siberia, Cape Chelyuskin, in 77° 41′ N. On leaving the extreme northern point of Asia a south-easterly course was steered, the sea being free from ice and very shallow. This absence of ice is to some extent due to the mass of warm water discharged by the great Siberian rivers during the summer. On the 27th of August the mouth of the river Lena was passed, and the “Vega” parted company with the little “Lena,” continuing her course eastward. Professor Nordenskiöld very nearly made the north-east passage in one season; but towards the end of September the “Vega” was frozen in off the shore of a low plain in 67° 7′ N. and 173° 20′ W. near the settlements of the Chukchis. During the voyage very large and important natural history collections were made, and the interesting aboriginal tribe among whom the winter was passed was studied with great care. The interior was also explored for some distance. On the 18th of July 1879, after having been imprisoned by the ice for 294 days, the “Vega” again proceeded on her voyage and passed Bering Strait on the 20th. Sir Hugh Willoughby made his disastrous attempt in 1553. After a lapse of 326 years of intermittent effort, the north-east passage had at length been accomplished without the loss of a single life and without damage to the vessel. The “Vega” arrived at Yokohama on the 2nd of September 1879.
In 1879 an enterprise was undertaken in the United States, with the object of throwing further light on the sad history of the retreat of the officers and men of Sir John Franklin's expedition, by examining the west coast of King William Island in the summer, Schwatka.when the snow is off the ground. The party consisted of Lieut. Schwatka of the United States army and three others. Wintering near the entrance of Chesterfield Inlet in Hudson Bay, they set out overland for the estuary of the Great Fish river, assisted by Eskimo and dogs, on the 1st of April 1879. They took only one month's provisions, their main reliance being upon the game afforded by the region to be traversed. The party obtained, during the journeys out and home, no less than 522 reindeer. After collecting various stories from the Eskimo at Montreal Island and at an inlet west of Cape Richardson, Schwatka crossed over to Cape Herschel on King William Land in June. He examined the western shore of the island with the greatest care for relics of Sir John Franklin's parties, as far as Cape Felix, the northern extremity. The return journey was commenced in November by ascending the Great Fish river for some distance and then marching over the intervening region to Hudson Bay. The cold of the winter months in that country is intense, the thermometer falling as low as −70° F., so that the return journey was most remarkable, and reflects the highest credit on Lieut. Schwatka and his companions. As regards the search little was left to be done after M‘Clintock, but some graves were found, as Well as a medal belonging to Lieut. Irving of H.M S. “Terror,” and some bones believed to be his, which were brought home and interred at Edinburgh.
Mr Gordon Bennett, the proprietor of the New York Herald, having resolved to despatch an expedition of discovery at his own expense by way of Bering Strait, the “Pandora” was purchased from Sir Allen Young, and rechristened the “Jeannette.” Lieut. de Long De Long.of the United States navy was appointed to command, and it was made a national undertaking by special act of Congress, the vessel being placed under martial law and office red from the navy. The “Jeannette” sailed from San Francisco on the 8th of July 1879, and was last seen steaming towards Wrangell Land on the 3rd of September. This land had been seen by Captain Kellett, in H.M.S. “Herald” on the 17th of August 1879, but no one had landed on it, and it was shown on the charts by a long dotted line. The “Jeannette” was provisioned for three years, but as no tidings had been received of her by 1881, two steamers were sent up Bering Strait in search. One of these, the “Rodgers,” under Lieut. Berry, anchored in a good harbour on the south coast of Wrangell Land, in 70° 57′ N., on the 26th of August 1881. The land was explored by the officers of the “Rodgers” and found to be an island about 70 m. long by 28, with a ridge of hills traversing it east and west, the 71st parallel running along its southern shore. Lieut. Berry then proceeded to examine the ice to the northward, and attained a higher latitude by 21 m. than had ever been reached before on the Bering Strait meridian—namely, 73° 44′ N . No news was obtained of the “Jeannette,” but soon afterwards melancholy tidings arrived from Siberia. After having been beset in heavy pack ice for twenty-two months, the “Jeannette” was crushed and sunk on the 13th of June 1881, in 77° 15′ N. lat., and 155° E. long. The officers and men dragged their boats over the ice to an island which was named Bennett Island, where they landed on the 29th of July. They reached one of the New Siberia Islands on the 10th of September, and on the 12th they set out for the mouth of the Lena. But in the same evening the three boats were separated in a gale of wind. A boat's crew with Mr Melville, the engineer, reached the Lena delta and searching for the other parties found the ship's books on the 14th of November, and resuming the search at the earliest possible moment in spring, Melville discovered the dead bodies of De Long and two of his crew on the 23rd of March 1882. They had perished from exhaustion and want of food. Three survivors of De Long's party had succeeded in making their way to a Siberian village; but the third boat's crew was lost. The “Rodgers” was burnt in its winter quarters, and one of the officers, W. H. Gilder (1838–1900), made a hazardous journey home wards through north-east Siberia.
The Norwegian geologist Professor Amund Helland made an expedition to Greenland in 1875 and discovered the marvellously rapid movements of the Greenland glaciers.Helland.
The Danes have been very active in prosecuting discoveries and scientific investigations in Greenland, since the journey of Nordenskiöld in 1870. Lieut. Jensen made a gallant attempt to penetrate the inland ice in 1878, collecting important observations,Danes in Greenland. and Dr Steenstrup, with Lieut. Hammar, closely investigated the formation of ice masses at Omenak and Jacobshavn. In 1883 an expedition under Lieuts. Holm and Garde began to explore the east coast of Greenland. In the summer of 1879 Captain Mourier, of the Danish man-of-war “Ingolf,” sighted the coast from the 6th to the 10th of July, and was enabled to observe and delineate it from 68° 10′ N. to 65° 55′ N., this being the gap left between the discoveries of Scoresby in 1822 and those of Graah in 1829. Nansen sighted part of the same coast in 1882. Lieut. Hovgaard of the Danish navy, who accompanied Nordenskiöld in his discovery of the north-east passage, planned an expedition to ascertain if land existed to the north of Cape Chelyuskin. He fitted out a small steamer called the “Dymphna” and sailed from Copenhagen in July 1882, but was unfortunately beset and obliged to winter in the Kara Sea. In 1883 Baron A. E. Nordenskiold undertook another journey over the inland ice of Greenland. Starting froifi Auleitsivikfjord on the 4th of July, his party penetrated 84 m. eastward, and to an altitude of 5000 ft. The Laplanders who were of the party were sent farther on snow-shoes, travelling over a desert of snow to a height of 7000 ft. Useful results in physical geography and biology were obtained.
On the 18th of September 1875 Lieut. Weyprecht, one of the discoverers of Franz Josef Land, read a paper before a large meeting of German naturalists at Graz on the scientific results to be obtained from polar research and the best means of securing them. He urged the importance of establishing a number of stations within or near the Arctic Circle, and also a ring of stations as near as possible to the Antarctic Circle, in order to record complete series of synchronous meteorological and magnetic observations. Lieut. Weyprecht did not live to see his suggestions carried into execution, but they bore fruit in due time. The various nations of Europe were represented at an international polar conference held at Hamburg in 1879 under the presidency of Dr Georg Neumayer, and at another at Berne in 1880; and it was decided that each nation should establish one or more stations where synchronous observations should be taken for a year from August 1882. This fine project was matured and successfully carried into execution. The stations arranged for in the North Polar region were at the following localities:—
Norwegians: Bossekop, Alten Fjord, Norway (M. Aksel S. Steen).
Swedes: Ice Fjord, Spitsbergen (Professor N. Ekholm)
Dutch: Port Dickson, mouth of Yenisei, Siberia (Dr M. Snellen)
Russians: Sagastyr Island, mouth of Lena, Siberia (Lieut. Jurgens).
Novaya Zemla, 72° 23′ N. (Lieut. C. Andreief).
Finns: Sodankyla, Finland (Professor S. Lemstrom)
Americans: Point Barrow, North America (Lieut. P. H. Ray, U.S.A.).
Lady Franklin Bay, 81° 44′ N. (Lieut. A. W. Greely, U.S.A).
British: Great Slave Lake, Dominion of Canada (Lieut. H. P. Dawson).
Germans: Cumberland Bay, west side of Davis Strait (Dr W. Giese).
Danes: Godthaab, Greenland (Dr A. Paulsen).
Austrians: Jan Mayen, North Atlantic, 71 ° N. (Lieut. Wohlgemuth).
The whole scheme was successfully accomplished with the exception of the part assigned to the Dutch at Port Dickson. They started in the “ Varna ” but were beset in the Kara Sea and obliged to winter there. The “ Varna ” was lost, and the crew took refuge on board Lieut. Hovgaard's vessel, which was also forced to winter in the pack during 1882-1883. The scientific observations were kept up on both vessels during the time they were drifting with the ice.
The American stations commenced work in 1882 and one of these furnished a rare example of heroic devotion to duty in face of difficulties due to the fault of those who should have brought relief at the appointed time. Lieut. A. W. Greely's party consisted of two other lieutenants, twenty sergeants and privates of the United States army, and Dr Pavy, an enthusiastic explorer who had been educated in France and had passed the previous winter among the Eskimo of Greenland. On the 11th of August 1881 the steamer “Proteus” conveyed Lieut. Greely and his party to Lady Franklin Bay during an exceptionally favourable season; a house was built at the “ Discovery's" winter quarters, and they were left with two years' provisions. The regular series of observations was at once commenced, and two winters were passed without accident. Travelling parties were also sent out in the summer, dogs having been obtained at Disco. Lieut. Lockwood with twelve men and eleven sledges made a journey along the north coast of Greenland and reached Lockwood Island in 83° 24′ N. and 42° 45′ W., the highest latitude reached up to that time. From this island at a height of 2600 ft. on a clear day an unbroken expanse of ice was seen stretching to the northward, the view extending far beyond the 84th parallel. A promontory of the north coast of Greenland seen to the north-east in 83° 35′ N. was named Cape Washington. Vegetation was found at the extreme position and animal life was represented by foxes, hares, lemmings and ptarmigan. The party returned to Fort Conger on the 1st of June 1882 after an absence of 59 days. Greely made two journeys westward into the interior of Grinnell Land following up the northern branch of Chandler Fjord to a great sheet of frozen fresh water, Hazen Lake, with an area of about 500 sq. m. Beyond this, 175 m. from Fort Conger, he climbed Mt Arthur, 4 500 ft., the highest summit of Grinnell Land, and saw distant mountains beyond a fjord to the southwest. In the spring of 1883 Lockwood made still more extensive journeys, crossing Grinnell Land to Greely Fjord, which entered the western sea. The central depression of Grinnell Land abounded in musk oxen and was free from ice, though the higher land to north and south lay under permanent ice-caps. Important as these geographical discoveries were, the main object of the expedition was the series of scientific observations at the headquarters, and these were carried out during the whole period with the most scrupulous exactness. As neither the relief ship which was to have been dispatched in 1882, nor that in 1883, sent the expected relief to the station at Fort Conger, Lieut. Greely started from Lady Franklin Bay with his men in a steam launch and three boats on the 9th of August, expecting to find a vessel in Smith Sound. The boats were beset and had to be abandoned, the party reaching the shore across the ice with great difficulty, carrying their supplies of food, now rapidly diminishing. On the 21st of October 1883 they were obliged to encamp at Cape Sabine, on the western shore of Smith Sound, and build a hut for wintering. A few depots were found, which had been left by Sir George Nares and Lieut. Beebe, but all supplies were exhausted before the spring. Then came a time of indescribable misery and acute suffering. The party proved insubordinate and the sternest measures were required to maintain military discipline. When the sun returned in 1884 the poor fellows began to die of actual starvation; but it was not until the 22nd of June 1884 that the relieving steamers “Thetis” and “Bear” reached Cape Sabine. Lieut. Greely and six suffering companions were found just alive, but with all their scientific records, their instruments in order and the great collections of specimens intact. The failure of the relief expeditions to overcome difficulties which were child's play to what Greely and his companions had come through only enhances the splendid courage and determination of the heroic survivors.
Danish expeditions under Lieut. G. Holm explored the east coast of Greenland from Cape Farewell northwards in Eskimo boats between 1883 and 1885, and at Angmagssalik they encountered a tribe of Eskimo who had never seen white men before. Lieut. Ryder and Lieut. T. V. Garde continued the exploration of East Greenland, and Ryder explored the great Scoresby Fjord. Captain Holm established a missionary and meteorological station at Angmagssalik Fjord in 1894, from which the Danish government take charge of the Eskimo of that region. In 1892-1893 an expedition sent out by the Berlin Geographical Society under Dr Erich von Drygalski studied the ice formations on the west of Greenland.
In July 1886 Lieut. Robert E. Peary, civil engineer, U.S. Navy, accompanied by the Dane Christian Maigaard, made a journey on the inland ice of Greenland eastward from Disco Bay in about 69° 30′ N. They reached a height of 7500 ft., when according to Peary's observations they were 100 m. from the coast, and then returned. Dr Fridtjof Nansen with Otto Sverdrup and five other companions, after overcoming great difficulties in penetrating the ice-floes, succeeded in landing on the east coast of Greenland in August 1888 in 64° 23′ N. and reached a height of 8920 ft on the inland ice, which was crossed on ski to the west coast, The interior was found to be a nearly flat plateau of snow resembling a frozen ocean, and at the high altitude of more than 8000 ft. the cold was intense. The crossing occupied more than two weeks, and the party not having dogs had themselves to haul all their gear on sledges. As they approached the western edge of the ice their progress was checked by dangerous crevasses; but on the 26th of September they succeeded in reaching the west coast at the head of the Ameralik Fjord in 64° 12′ N., having traversed 260 m. of glacier. Nansen discovered that in that latitude the inland ice of Greenland has the form of a huge shield rising rather rapidly but regularly from the east coast to nearly 9000 ft., flat and even in the middle and falling again regularly toward the western side, completely enveloping the land An important principle acted on for the first time in Arctic travel on this journey was that of starting from the less accessible side and pushing straight through with no possibility of turning back, and thus with no necessity for forming a base or traversing the same route twice over.
Peary spent the winter of 1891–1892 at Inglefield Gulf on the north-west coast of Greenland, Mrs Peary, Dr F. A. Cook, Eivind Astrup and a coloured servant Matthew Henson being in his party, and a large number of the Etah Eskimo in the vicinity. In April 1892 he set out for a journey across the inland ice to the north-eastward in the hope of reaching the east coast and also the northern extremity of the land After getting well up on the ice-covered plateau a supporting party returned to winter quarters, while Peary and Astrup, with two companions and sixteen dogs, entered on the serious part of their work. The highest part of the inland ice was found to be about 5700 ft., and as usual after the first part of the descent, towards the north-east in this case, the surface was broken by numerous dangerous crevasses, progress amongst which was very slow. Great hardships were experienced from cold, insufficiency of food and the wearing out of sledges and clothes, but on the 4th of July, having left the ice and got on bare land in 81° 37′ N., where musk oxen and other game were found and flowers were growing, Peary was rewarded by a glimpse of the sea to the north-eastward, and named it from the date Independence Bay. He also traced a channel to the north beyond which lay a new land largely free from snow, no doubt the southern part of the island along the north of which Markham and Lockwood had travelled to their farthest north. The return journey to Inglefield Gulf was a wonderful feat of endurance, which was completed on the 4th of August, the total distance marched on the whole journey out and home was 1300 m. Peary returned to northern Greenland in 1893, having spent the whole time between the two expeditions in writing and lecturing in order to raise funds, for he travelled at his own charges He landed on the shore of Inglefield Gulf on the 3rd of August and wintered there with a party of thirteen, including Mrs Peary, and there their daughter was born Astrup was taken ill after starting on the great journey in March 1804, which was to have extended the explorations of the previous year, and had to return, others were severely frost-bitten, disease broke out amongst the dogs, and a month after the start Peary was only 130 m from his base and had to return. Peary with two of his party, Hugh J. Lee and Matthew Henson, remained at Inglefield Gulf for another winter, and on the 1st of April 1895, with deer and walrus meat in place of pemmican, the supply of which had been lost, set out for Independence Bay. They reached the ice-free land when their food was exhausted and fortunately fell in with a herd of musk oxen, the meat from which made it possible to get back to Inglefield Gulf, though without adding anything material to the results of 1892. The experience of ice-travel and of Eskimo nature gained in the four years’ almost continuous residence in northern Greenland were however destined to bear rich fruit.
Dr Nansen, after making an exhaustive study of the winds
and currents of the Arctic Sea, and influenced largely by the
occurrence of driftwood on the shores past which the
ice-laden waters flowed southward between Greenland
and Spitsbergen, satisfied himself that there was
a general drift across the polar basin and perhaps across the PoleNansen;
Drift of the “Fram.” He planned an expedition to take advantage of this drift on the principle which guided his crossing of Greenland, that of entering at the least accessible point and not turning back, thus having no line of retreat and making a relief expedition impossible He planned a ship, the “Fram,” which was immensely strong, to resist crushing, and of such a section that if nipped in the ice the opposing ice-masses would pass under her and lift her on to the surface The plan of the expedition was based on scientific reasoning, but the methods were totally at variance with those of previous explorers. Otto Sverdrup, who had been one of Nansen’s party in crossing Greenland, was captain of the “Fram,” and the party included eleven others, the whole ship’s company of thirteen living together on terms of social equality. Nansen paid the greatest possible attention to the provisions, and all the arrangements for the health and happiness of those on board were carefully thought out. The clothing of the expedition was as original in design as the ship, instead of having furs, thick woollen underclothing was adopted, with a light wind-proof material for the outer dress The “Fram” left Christiania in the summer of 1893 and made her way through the Kara Sea and along the north coast of Asia until on the 20th of September she was run into the ice in 77° 30′ N., off the New Siberia Islands, and the great drift commenced. As anticipated, she rose to the pressure of the ice and was borne on an even keel high above the water for the whole duration of the drift The movement of the ice was irregular, and on the 7th of November the “Fram” was back at her starting-point, but on the whole the movement was north-westward until the 15th of November 1895, when the highest latitude of the ship was attained, 85° 55′ N. in 66° 31′ E., the meridian of the east of Novaya Zemlya, then it was westward and finally southward until the ice was broken by blasting round the ship in June in 83° N. lat; and after being afloat, though unable to make much progress until the middle of July, the “Fram” broke out of the ice off the north coast of Spitsbergen on the 13th of August 1896 No ship before or since has reached so high a latitude In all her drift the “Fram” came in sight of no new land, but the soundings made through the ice proved that the Arctic Sea was of great depth, increasing towards the Pole, the greatest depth exceeding 2000 fathoms. The great mass of water filling the polar basin was comparatively warm, indicating free circulation with the Atlantic. It was established that the ice formed off the coast of Asia drifted across the polar basin in a period of from three to five years, and the hypothesis on the truth of which Nansen risked his success was abundantly verified by facts. The ship’s company all returned in perfect health After the second winter on the “Fram” at a time when the northward movement of the drift seemed to be checked, Nansen, accompanied by Lieut. Hjalmar Johansen, left the ship in order to explore the regions towards the Pole by travelling on ski with dog sledges carrying kayaks. It was obviously hopeless to attempt to find the drifting ship on their return, and Nansen intended to make for Spitsbergen in the hope of meeting one of the tourist steamers there. A more daring plan was never formed, and it was justified by success. Leaving the ship on the 14th of March 1895 in 84° N. 102° E, they made a fairly rapid march northward, reaching a latitude of 86° 5′ N. on the 8th of April, the nearest approach to the Pole so far achieved Turning south-westwards they travelled with much difficulty, sometimes on the ice, sometimes in kayaks in the open lanes of water, incurring great danger from the attacks of bears and walrus, but at length reaching a group of new islands east of Franz Josef Land They travelled westward through this archipelago until the 28th of August, when they built a small stone hut roofed with their light silk tent, in which they passed the winter on a land since called Frederick Jackson Island There they lived like Eskimo on bear and walrus meat cooked over a blubber lamp The journey southward was resumed in the spring of 1896, and on the 15th of June they met Mr F. G. Jackson, in whose relief ship, the “Windward,” they returned to Norway. Nansen and Johansen reached Vardo on the 13th of August 1896 full of anxiety for the fate of their old comrades, when by a coincidence unparalleled in the history of exploration, the “Fram” was on that very day breaking out of the ice off Spitsbergen and the original party of thirteen was reunited at Tromso the following week and returned together to Christiania. On this remarkable expedition no life was lost and the ship came back undamaged under the skilled guidance of Sverdrup with a great harvest of scientific results.
Mr Frederick George Jackson planned an exploring expedition to attain a high latitude by the Franz Josef Land route and was supported financially by Mr A. C. Harmsworth (Lord Northcliffe). He was accompanied by Lieut. Albert Harmsworth Armitage, R N.R., as second in command and six Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition. scientific men, including Dr Reginald Koettlitz, Dr W. S. Bruce also was one of the number in the second year. The Jackson-Harmsworth expedition sailed in 1894, and was landed at Cape Flora, where log houses were built. In the spring of 189 5 Jackson made a journey northward to 81° 19′, N., the highest latitude reached, and added considerably to our knowledge of the archipelago by discovering a channel between groups of islands west of the Austria Sound of Payer. He made numerous other journeys by land and in boats, and surveyed a considerable portion of the islands on which he landed, the most interesting being that of 1897, to the western portion of the group. The geological collections were of some value and the specimens secured indicated that Franz Josef Land and Spitsbergen were parts of an extensive land existing in Tertiary times. The expedition returned in 1897.
In 1897 and subsequent years a party led by Sir Martin Conway explored the interior of Spitsbergen. Dr A. G. Nathorst, the Swedish geologist, explored the eastern coast and off-lying islands, and made important observations on North-East Land, circumnavigating the Spitsbergen archipelago in 1898. In 1899 Nathorst visited the north-east coast of Greenland in search of Andrée’s balloon expedition, and here he mapped Franz Josef Fjord and discovered the great King Oscar Fjord in waters that had never been navigated before.
In subsequent years valuable surveys and scientific observations were made by the Prince of Monaco in his yacht “Princesse Alice,” by Dr W. S. Bruce, notably on Prince Charles Foreland, and by others. Franz Josef Land was visited by the American explorer W. Wellman in 1898 and 1900, and his companion E. Baldwin in the former year made the discovery of several islands in the east of the archipelago. A wealthy American, W. Zeigler, also sent out expeditions to Franz Josef Land in 1901 and between 1903 and 1905, in the course of which A. Fiala reached the high latitude of 82° 4′ N. in the “America,” but the ship was afterwards lost in Teplitz Bay. These expeditions added little to our knowledge of polar geography, but some useful meteorological, magnetic and tidal observations were made.
The Italian expedition under the command of H.R.H. Prince Luigi, duke of the Abruzzi, was the most successful of all those which have attempted to reach high latitudes by the way of Franz Josef Land. Embarking in the summer of 1899 on the “Stella Polare” (formerly Duke of the Abruzzi. the Norwegian whaler “Jason” which had landed Nansen on the east coast of Greenland in 1888) the expedition put into Teplitz Bay in Rudolf Land, where they wintered and there the ship nas seriously damaged by the ice. In the spring of 1900 a determined effort was made to reach the North Pole by sledging over the sea-ice. The duke of the Abruzzi having been disabled by frost-bite. the leadership of the northern party devolved upon Captain Umberto Cagni of the Italian navy, who started on the 11th of March 1900 with ten men (Alpine guides and Italian sailors) and nearly a hundred dogs. His plan was to sledge northward over the sea-ice, sending back two parties as the diminishing stores allowed the advance party to take on the whole of the supplies destined to support them on their way to the Pole and back. Before losing sight of Rudolf Island three men forming the first party started to return, but they never reached winter quarters and all must have perished. The second party went back from latitude 83° 10′ N ., and reached their base in safety. Cagni pushed on with three companions, determined if he could not reach the Pole at least to outdistance his predecessor Nansen, and on the 25th of April 1900 he succeeded in reaching 86° 34′ N. in 65° 20′ E. Diminishing food supplies made it necessary to turn at this point, and although he had reached it in 45 days it took Cagni 60 days to return. The advance of summer loosened the ice-floes, and the westward component of the drift of the pack became a more and more serious danger, threatening to carry the party past Franz Josef Land without sighting it. Fortunately Cape Mill, a headland of characteristic outline, was sighted just in time, and with this as a guide the party succeeded in reaching Teplitz Bay, having eaten the last of their dogs and been reduced to great extremities At the farthest north no land was visible, the rough sea-ice extending to the horizon on every side.
As early as 1895 a scheme for an exploring expedition in a balloon was put forward seriously, and in 1897 the Swedish aeronaut S. A. Andrée carried it out. He had Andrée brought a balloon to Danes Island, in the north of Spitsbergen, the previous year, but the weather was unpropitious and the ascent had to be postponed. On the 11th of July 1897 he started in a new and larger balloon with about five tons of supplies and two companions. It was hoped that the balloon could be steered to some extent by the use of heavy guide ropes dragging over the ice, and Andrée had already made successful flights in this way. Rising at 2:30 p.m. the balloon was out of sight of Danes Island in an hour. At 10 p.m. Andrée threw out a buoy containing a message which was recovered, and this stated that the balloon was in 82° N. 25° E., moving towards the north-east at an altitude of 800 ft. above a rugged ice-field. This was the last news received, and although scarcely a year has passed without some rumour of the balloon having been found in Siberia or North America, nothing further has ever been ascertained.
In 1899 Admiral Makaroff of the Russian navy arranged for the trial trip of the great ice-breaker “Yermak,” which he designed, to take the form of an expedition into the sea-ice off Spitsbergen. Though no high latitude was attained on this occasion he formed the opinion that Makaroff. a vessel of sufficient size and power could force a passage even to the Pole. The Russian-Japanese War put an end to the polar projects of this gifted man of science.
Captain Otto Sverdrup, who had been Nansen’s companion on his two polar expeditions, planned an Arctic voyage for the circumnavigation of Greenland, and the “Fram” was altered and refitted to suit her for the work. Starting in 1899, he was obliged to abandon the attempt to get Sverdrup. northward through Smith Sound, and making his way westward into ]ones Sound he spent three years in exploring and mapping the portion of the Arctic archipelago which lay to the north of the field of labour of the Franklin search expeditions. Ellesmere and Grinnell Lands were shown to be part of one large land mass called King Oscar Land, which is separated by a narrow channel, Eureka Sound, from an extensive island named Axel Heiberg Land. Two of his party (Isachsen and Hassel) discovered and explored two islands west of Heiberg Land, and Dr Schei made most valuable observations on the geology of the whole of the district examined. Sverdrup’s journeys cleared up a great deal of uncertainty regarding the geography of the least known portion of the Arctic archipelago, and leave little more to be done in that quarter. He brought the “Fram” safely back to Norway in 1903.
Many American whalers working in the sea reached through Bering Strait believe that land of considerable extent lies farther west than the Arctic archipelago, north of the mouth of the Mackenzie River, but neither the English traveller A. H. Harrison in 1905, nor the Dane Einar Mikkelsen in 1907, was able to find any trace of it, though the latter sledged over the sea ice as far as 72° N., where in 150° W. he got a sounding of 339 fathoms with no bottom. This depth makes it somewhat improbable that land exists in that quarter.
Russian surveyors and explorers continued to map portions of the Siberian coast, and in 1886 Dr Bunge and Baron Toll visited the New Siberia Islands and made known the remarkable remains of mammoths which exist there in great numbers. In 1893 Baron Toll made an Baron Toll. important geological expedition to the islands, discovering many well-preserved remains of mammoths and other extinct mammals and finding evidence that in the mammoth period trees grew at least as far as 74° N. Indefatigable in the pursuit of his studies, Toll set out once more in 1901 on board the “Zarya,” hoping to reach Sannikofi Island, the most northern and still unvisited portion of the New Siberia group. In August 1902 he reached Bennet Island with the astronomer Seeberg and two men, he found the island to be a plateau about 1500 ft in elevation. and remained there until November studying the geological features Nothing more was heard of the expedition, and a relief expedition in 1904, under Lieuts. Brusneff and Kolchak, failed to find any trace of the explorers beyond a record left on Bennet Island, which gave a summary of their movements up to the time of leaving the island.
In 1901 Captain Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian, who had been mate on the “Belgica” in her Antarctic voyage, planned Amundsen an expedition to the area of the north magnetic pole visited by Sir James Ross in 1831, in order to re-locate it, and as a secondary object he had in view theAmundsen. accomplishment of the North-West Passage by water for the first time, M‘Clure not having carried his ship through from sea to sea. A small Norwegian sealing sloop, the “Gjöa,” the cabin of which measured only 9 ft. by 6, was fitted with a petroleum motor engine of 59 h p for use in calm weather and strengthened to withstand ice-pressure. She left Christiania on the 17th of June 1903 with a total company of six men, second in command being Lieut. Godfred Hansen of the Danish navy She passed through Lancaster Sound and worked her way down the west side of Boothia Felix in August, and took up “inter quarters in Gjöa Harbour at the head of Petersen Bay in King William Land Here the little vessel remained for two years xx hile magnetic and meteorological observations were carried out, and sledging excursions were made to the magnetic pole and along the coasts of Victoria Land, which was charted up to 72° N In August 1905 the “Gjöa” proceeded westward along the American coast but was frozen in off King Point for a third winter On the 11th of July 1906 she got free, and after much difficulty with the ice reached Bering Strait on the 30th of August and entered the Pacific, the first ship to pass from ocean to ocean north of Patagonia.
Danish explorers have continued to concentrate their attention on the problems of Greenland, and especially the geography of the east coast Lieut G. D. Amdrup, in a series of expeditions between 1898 and 1900, charted the coast-line as far north as 70° 15′ N and made important scientific observations and collections From time to time Whalers reached the east Greenland coast at points in high latitudes The duke of Orleans in the “Belgica,” under the command of Captain Gerlache, made an important voyage in 1905, in the course of which he cruised along the coast of Germania Land between 76° and 78° N, and fixed the general outline of the land up to that latitude. This expedition did a large amount of scientific work, especially in oceanography. The stream of sea-ice which presses outwards from the polar basin every summer bears close against the east coast of Greenland, and exploration by sea has always proved exceedingly difficult and precarious, success depending very much on the occurrence of chance leads amongst the ice Taking advantage of all previous experience, the most important of the Danish expeditions was planned by L. Mylius-Erichsen Mylhm in 1905, the expenses being partly raised by private subscriptions and partly provided by the DanishMylius-Erichsen. government. He sailed in the “Danmark” in June 1906 and found winter quarters in Danmarkhaven, 75° 43′ N, where the ship remained for two years, while systematic magnetic and meteorological observations were kept up at the base and the main work of exploring to the northward was carried on by sledge From existing maps it was believed that about 620 m of coast separated the winter quarters from the northern point of Greenland, but when the sledge expedition went out in 1907 the coast was found to curve much farther to the eastward than had been anticipated, and the outward journey extended to 800 m Having left the winter quarters on the 28th of March 1907 Mylius-Erichsen, with Captain Koch, Hagen, an educated Eskimo, Bronlund and two others, reached North-East Foreland, the eastern extremity of Greenland (81° 20′ N, 11° 15′ W) Here they divided; Koch with Berthelsen and the Eskimo Tobias went north-westward to explore the east coast of Peary Land, and succeeded in reaching the northernmost extremity of the land beyond Cape Bridgman in 83° 30′ N. From this great journey he returned in safety to winter quarters, arriving on the 24th of June. Meanwhile Mylius-Erichsen, with Hagen and the Eskimo Bronlund, followed the coast westward into what was believed to be the Independence Bay seen from a distance by Peary; this turned out to be a deep inlet now named Danmark Fjord. Keeping to the coast, they entered the great channel separating the mainland of Greenland from Peary Land, and surveyed Hagen Fjord on the southern shore and Bronlund Fjord on the northern shoie of the strait. They had pushed on to Cape Glacier in 82° N. and 35° W by the 14th of June 1907, within sight of Navy Cliff, which had been Peary's farthest coming from the west side, and here the softness of the snow kept them all summer. When they could travel, more than a fortnight was wasted adrift on a floe in the effort to cross Danmark Fjord. Here the sun left them, while they were without food, almost worn out and more than 500 m. from the ship. It was impossible to attempt the long journey round the coast, and the only chance of safety, and that a very Slender one, was to make away southward over the inland ice and so cut off the eastern horn of Greenland which the expedition had discovered. Under the most terrible difficulties, with only four starved dogs, and their equipment going to pieces, they accomplished the feat of marching 160 m. in 26 days, and reached the east coast again in 79° N . Hagen died on the way; Mylius-Erichsen himself struggled on until he nearly reached the provisions left on Lambert Island on the northern journey; but he too perished, and only Bronlund reached the supplies. He was frost-bitten and unable to proceed further, and after recording the tragedy of the return journey in his diary, he died also alone in the Arctic night. His body and the records of the great journey were discovered in the following year by Koch, who started on a relief expedition as soon as travelling became possible. The results of this expedition are a splendid monument to the courage and devotion of the leader and his followers. The channel between Spitsbergen and Greenland was shown by their efforts to be far narrower than had previously been supposed, and the outline of Greenland itself was fixed for the first time, and that by an extremely accurate survey.
There only remains one further episode to bring the history of polar exploration up to 1910, but that is the crowning event of four hundred years of unceasing effort, the attainment of the Pole itself; and it was accomplished by the undaunted perseverance of one man who would never acceptPeary. defeat. After the return of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition, Lord Northcliffe presented the “Windward” to Lieut. Peary, who resumed in 1898 his systematic explorations of the Smith Sound region in the hope of finding a way to the Pole. He was not restrained by the precedents of earlier travellers and made some long sledge journeys in the winter of 1898–1899, having his feet badly frost-bitten and losing eight toes. Even this crippling did not stop his work. He wintered amongst the Etah Eskimo in 1899–1900 and next spring made a successful journey to the most northerly land north of Greenland in 83° 35′ where the land had an abundant flora and fauna, and he pushed north over the sea-ice for twenty miles farther, reaching 83° 54′ N. Peary wintered again at Fort Conger in 1900–1901, and for the fourth year in succession he went through the Arctic winter, 1901–1902, at Payer Harbour. In the spring of 1902 he made a great journey to Cape Hecla in the north of Grant Land and thence northward over the frozen sea to 84° 17′ N. in 70° W. Frequent open leads of water and the moving of the ice-floes made further advance impossible, and after an unparalleled sojourn in the farthest north, Peary returned to the United States The Peary Arctic Club of New York, formed to support this indomitable explorer, provided funds for a new expedition and a ship differing in some respects from those hitherto employed and named the “Roosevelt” In her he proceeded in the summer of 1905 through Smith Sound and the northern channels to Cape Sheridan on the north coast of Grant Land, Captain Robert Bartlett being in command of the ship. From this point he advanced by sledge to Cape Hecla, whence he made a most strenuous attempt to reach the North Pole. Organizing his large following of trained Eskimo, whose confidence in him had been won by many years of friendship, and his few white companions in separate parties, each complete in itself and well furnished with dogs and food, he set off at the end of February 1906. A very broad lead of open water was encountered in 84° 38′ N., and as the party did not carry kayaks much time was lost in getting across. The floes had a marked eastward drift and it was difficult to make progress northward; however, Peary struggled on by forced marches to 87° 6′ N., which he reached on the 21st of April 1906, the most northerly point so far attained. His return journey was the most dangerous in his experience; many leads had to be crossed, sometimes on ice so thin that it bent beneath the weight of the explorers, provisions were exhausted and the men were reduced to eating their dogs before they made land at Cape Neumayer in the north of Greenland, where game was found, and whence the return to the ship was comparatively easy.
Returning to America, Peary prepared for a last attempt. The “Roosevelt” was overhauled and various defects made good, but not in time for the summer of 1907. Leaving New York in July 1908 the “Roosevelt,” again under the command of R. Bartlett, brought the party, with the Eskimo who were picked up onPeary’s Journey to the North Pole. the way, to Cape Sheridan by the 5th of September. During the winter all supplies were transported to Cape Columbia, farther west on the coast of Grant Land. Here there were ready to start in the first light of the Arctic day seven explorers, 17 picked Eskimo and 133 of the best dogs in Greenland with 19 sledges, As the outcome of all Peary's experience the expedition was arranged to consist of a lightly equipped advance party to select the route and make the trail by clearing a way through rough ice, and a main party composed of units of four men each with sledges containing all their requirements marching one day behind the pioneer party. From this unit parties were to return southward at intervals with the empty sledges, leaving the diminished main party to push on fully provisioned. The “big lead ” which marks the edge of the continental shelf in 84° N. was crossed after some delay and here the sun appeared for the first time on the 5th of March 1909. Dr MacMillan with three Eskimo and three sledges returned along the outward trail after the 7th of March from 84° 29′ N. A sounding at this point showed the depth of the sea to be 825 fathoms. After five more marches G. Borup turned back in 85° 23′ with three Eskimo and three sledges, the best Eskimo and dogs remaining with the main party. From this point the advance was regular; the pioneer party started from the snow-houses they had built and slept in when the main party arrived, and while the latter slept the pioneers marched, selected a camp, built new snow houses, and slept till the main party came up. At 86° 38′ N. Prof. R. G. Marvin turned back, as usual with the three worst Eskimo and the worst dogs. His party reached the ship, but he himself was drowned in recrossing the “big lead,” the only casualty of the expedition. At 88° N. Bartlett turned back on the first of April in accordance with the system with two Eskimo, one sledge and 18 dogs. Up to this point Peary had saved himself as much as possible, leaving the path-finding and the observations to his very competent colleagues, but now he put forth all his strength for the arduous 140 m. which separated him from the Pole. He was accompanied by Henson and four Eskimo. The ice improved as he went on and it was possible to do 25 m. in a daily march of 10 hours, and on one occasion 30 m. in 12 hours. On the 6th of April an observation gave 89° 57′ N., and here a camp was made and observations taken throughout 24 hours to fix the position, as well as excursions a few miles farther on and a few miles to right and left so as to be sure of actually reaching the Pole. No land was to be seen, and a sounding through the ice gave a depth of 1500 fathoms with no bottom. The American flag was hoisted; the goal of all the ages of exploration had been reached.
The return journey was quick and easy. The tracks kept open by the passage of the various return parties were distinct enough to follow, the snow-houses stood ready for sheltering at the end of each march, and a northerly gale kept the ice pressed well together and the leads closed. On the 23rd of April Cape Columbia was reached and soon after the party was safe on board the “Roosevelt.” Success was due to the accumulated experience of twenty-three years' constant Arctic work, and to the thorough acquaintance with the Eskimo and their dogs, which enabled the best work to be got out of them.
Dr F. A. Cook spent two years in the Arctic regions, 1907–1909, and claimed to have reached the Pole by sledging alone with two Eskimo a year before Peary. He submitted the evidence for this achievement to the university of Copenhagen, which failed to find it satisfactory, and Dr Cook did not appear to challenge thisF. A. Cook decision.
Physiography of the Arctic Region
Geology.—Although much remains to be done in the exploration of the North Polar area, the main features of the physical geography of the region have been determined beyond any reasonable doubt. Within the Arctic Circle the northern portions of Europe, Asia, America and Greenland surround a central area of deep sea, the southern margin of which forms a broad continental shelf bearing many islands. The ring of land and shallow sea is broken only by the broad channel between Greenland and Europe through which Atlantic water gains an entrance to the Arctic Sea. The physical conditions of this sea, which covers the greater part of the Arctic regions, are dealt with later in detail; but there is less to be said regarding the land.
In a climate which taxes human powers to the utmost to carry on the simplest route-surveys in the course of an exploring expedition, and in the presence of a snow covering which is permanent on all high ground and only disappears for a short time in summer, even on the shores and islands, it is obvious that any knowledge of the geology must be difficult to obtain. On the earlier Arctic expeditions enthusiastic collectors brought together quantities of specimens, many of which it was found impossible to bring home, and they have been found abandoned by later travellers. As Arctic exploration was usually carried out on the sea or over the sea-ice even those expeditions in which experienced geologists took part furnished few opportunities for making investigations. The result is that the geology of the Arctic lands has to be inferred from observations made at isolated points where the fortune of the ice stopped the ship, or where on land journeys a favourable exposure was found. Almost every geological formation is known to be represented, from the Archaean to the Quaternary, and there is a general resemblance in the known geological features of most of the great Arctic islands. The fundamental rock in all appears to be Archaean gneiss. In the extreme north-east Carboniferous strata have recently been discovered similar to the Carboniferous rocks of Spitsbergen. The Turassic rocks farther south are in places capped by Cretaceous beds, and closely resemble the Jurassic rocks of Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land and the northern parts of Norway and Russia. Cretaceous and Tertiary rocks are found on the west coast of Greenland covered over by great flows of basalt, probably of Tertiary age, at Disco Island, Nugsuak Peninsula and various points farther north. The only mineral of economic value found in Greenland is cryolite, which is mined at Ivigtut in the south-west. Native iron occurs in considerable masses ill several places, some of it undoubtedly of telluric origin, though some is probably meteoric.
The second “Fram” expedition confirmed and extended the geological observations of the Franklin search expeditions on the American Arctic archipelago, and showed the presence above the Archaean rocks of Cambrian, Silurian and Devonian strata, the Silurian being represented by a widespread brown limestone abounding in fossils. Carboniferous limestones also occur and less extensive beds of quartz sandstones, schists and limestonescontaining ammonites and other Mesozoic fossils. Tertiary
rocks including beds of lignite and plant fossils of Miocene age also occur, and they are interstratified and overspread with basalts and other eruptive rocks as in Greenland. In Grant Land Tertiary coal occurs in Lady Franklin Bay (81° 45′ N.), the most northerly deposit of fossil fuel known. Arctic Canada consists of Archaean and Palaeozoic rocks worn down into plateaux or plains and bearing marks of glacial action, the absence of which is the most remarkable feature of the tundra region of Siberia. The Siberian coast is superficially formed to a large extent of frozen soil and gravel sometimes interbedded with clear ice, and in this soil the frozen bodies of mammoths and other Quaternary animals have been found preserved in a fresh condition by the low temperature. The absence of a glacial period in northern Siberia is probably indirectly due to the very low temperature which prevailed there, preventing the access of water vapour from without and so stopping the supply required to produce sufficient precipitation to form glaciers or ice-caps. On the New Siberia Islands Silurian and Tertiary rocks have been recognized, the latter with abundant deposits of fossil wood.
The geological evidence is complete as to the existence of a genial climate in Tertiary times as far north as the present land extends, and of a climate less severe than that of to-day in the Quaternary period. The existence of raised sea margins in many Arctic lands and especially in the American Arctic archipelago bears evidence to a recent elevation of the land, or a withdrawal of the sea, which has been influential in forming some of the most prominent features of the present configuration. It is noteworthy that no great mountain range runs into the Arctic region. The Rocky Mountains on the west and the Ural range on the east die down to insignificant elevations before reaching the Arctic Circle. The plateau of Greenland forms the loftiest mass of Arctic land, but the thickness of the ice cap is unknown. The one active volcano within the Arctic Circle is on the little island of Jan Mayen.
The Arctic Climate.—As the water of the Arctic Sea is free from ice around the margin only for a few months in summer, and is covered at all times over its great expanse with thick ice in slow uneasy motion. there is less contrast in climate between land and sea, especially in winter, than in other parts of the world. The climate of the polar area may be described as the most characteristic of all the natural features, and observations of temperature and pressure are more numerous and systematic than any other scientific observations. The Russian meteorological system includes Siberia, and long series of observations exist from stations up to and within the Arctic Circle. The Canadian Meteorological Service has secured like observations for the extreme north of North America, though the records are more fragmentary and of shorter duration. Norway and Iceland also yield many records on the margin of the Arctic Circle. The international circum-polar stations maintained during 1882 connected the Siberian, Norwegian and Canadian land stations with the more fragmentary work of the various polar expeditions which have wintered from time to time in high latitudes The most valuable records and practically the only data available for the climate north of 84° are those of the first expedition of the “Fram” in her three years' drift across the polar basin. Later expeditions beyond the 84th parallel were merely dashes of a few weeks' duration, the records from which, however accurate, are of an altogether different order of importance. The data collected by the “Fram” were discussed in great detail by Professor H. Mohn in 1904, and that eminent authority combined them with all that had been known previously, and all that was ascertained by later explorers up to the return of Captain Sverdrup from the second “Fram” expedition, so as to give the completest account ever attempted of the climate of the North Polar regions, and on this we rely mainly for the following summary
Temperature.—From Professor Mohn’s maps of the isotherms north of 60° N it is evident that the temperature reduced to sea-level is lowest in the winter months within an area stretching across the pole from the interior of Greenland to the middle of Siberia, the long axis of this very cold area being in the meridian of 40° W. and 140° E. For every month from October to April the mean temperature of this cold area is below 0° F., and in the two coldest months there are three very cold areas or poles of cold with temperatures below −40° arranged along the axis. These are the interior of Greenland, an area around the North Pole and the centre of Northern Siberia. Professor Mohn is satisfied that these three poles of cold are separated by somewhat warmer belts, as observations on the north coast of Greenland show a temperature higher both than the temperature of the interior reduced to sea-level and the temperature on the frozen sea farther north. As summer advances the temperature rises to the freezing point most rapidly in North America, the mean temperature for June, July and August for the American coast and the Arctic archipelago being above the freezing point. In July and August the Arctic shores in America, Asia and Europe have a mean air-temperature of about 40° F., but the interior of Greenland and the area round the North Pole remain below 32°, those two poles of cold persisting throughout the year while the winter cold pole in Asia disappears in summer. There is no reason to doubt that in winter the Asiatic area is the coldest part of the Arctic region, and as it is permanently inhabited it is plain that low temperature alone is no bar to the wintering of expeditions in any part of the North Polar region. The lowest temperature experienced during the drift of the “Fram” was −62° F., on the 12th of March 1894 in lat. 79° 41′, long. 134° 17′ E. The minimum temperatures recorded on Sir George Nares’s expedition were −73·8° F. on the “Alert” in 82° 27′ N. and −70·8° on the “Discovery” in 81° 44′ N., both in March 1876, and the minimum on Sverdrup’s expedition in Tones Sound in 76° 50′ N. was −60° F. in January 1901. In February 1882 Greely recorded −66·2° at Fort Conger, 81° 44′ N, and at Fort Constance in Canada (66° 40′ N. 119° W.) a temperature of −72° F. was noted in January 1851. The lowest temperature ever recorded on the earth’s surface was probably that experienced at Verkhoyansk in Siberia (67° 34′ N.) where the absolute minimum in the month of February was −93·6°, and minima of −70° or more have been recorded in every winter month from November to March inclusive, and as the absolute maximum in July was +92·7° F. the total range experienced is no less than 186·3°, far exceeding that known in any other part of the world.
The normal monthly mean temperatures for various parallels of latitude are given as follows by Professor Mohn, the last column showing the calculated conditions at the North Pole itself expressed to the nearest degree.
|Normal Air Temperature for Latitudes in °F.|
|65° N.||70° N.||80° N.||90° N.|
|March||+ 3·0||− 8·3||−23·1||−31|
|April||19·0||+ 6·8||− 8·9||−18|
The interior of Greenland is believed to be below the normal temperature for the latitude in all months and so is the region between Bering Strait and the Pole; the Norwegian Sea, and the region north of it as far as the Pole, has a temperature above the normal for the latitude in all months; while the temperature in the northern continents is below the normal in winter and above the normal in summer.
The “Fram” observations showed that while the ordinary diurnal range of temperature prevailed for the months when the sun was above the horizon during some part of the day, there was also a diurnal range in the winter months when the sun did not appear, the minimum then occurring about 2 p m. and the maximum about 1 a.m, the “day” being colder than the “night.” Except in July and August the temperature was always found to be lower with the weaker winds and higher with the stronger Winds irrespective of direction. Extraordinarily rapid variations of temperature have been observed in the winter months, on one occasion in February 1896 (north of 84° N.) the thermometer rising within 24 hours from −45·4° to +22·3° F., a rise of 67·7°.
Cloud and Precipitation.—The amount of cloud in the far north is greater in the daytime than at night, the summer months being cloudy, the winter very clear, and the amount is greater with the stronger winds and less with the weaker winds. Precipitation is most frequent in the summer months, the “Fram” results showing an average of 20 days per month from May to September; while from October to April the average was only 111 days per month. Rain was only observed in the months from May to September; but snow occurs in every month and is most frequent in May and June, least frequent in November and December, which are the months of minimum precipitation. It has never been possible to make satisfactory measurements of the amount of precipitation in the Arctic regions on account of the drifting of snow with high wind. Fogs occur most frequently in July and August (20 or 16 days per month); they are practically unknown between November and April.
Pressure.—The “Fram” observations enabled Professor Mohn to revise and extend the isobaric maps of Dr Buchan, the correctness of which was strikingly confirmed. The Atlantic and Pacific low pressure areas are found at all seasons on the margin of the Arctic area, the position shifting a little in longitude from month to month. The two low pressures are separated in the winter months by a ridge of high pressure (exceeding 30 00 in) stretching from the Canadian to the Siberian side between the North Pole and Bering Strait, this ridge has been termed by Professor Supan “the Arctic wind divide.” In April the high pressure over Asia gives way and an intense low pressure area takes its place during the summer, uniting in August with the less intense low-pressure area which develops later over Canada, and reducing the Arctic high pressure area to an irregular belt extending from North Greenland to Franz Josef Land on the Atlantic side of the Pole The general pressure over the polar area is much higher in winter than in summer and the gradients are steeper also in the cold weather, giving rise to stronger winds. The isobaric conditions indicate light variable winds in summer along the route of the “Fram” from the New Siberia Islands to the north of Spitsbergen, and in winter south-easterly or easterly winds of greater force, this is in accord with the observations made during the drift. Professor Mohn believes that the maximum pressure at the North Pole takes place in April, when it is about 30 08 in; and the minimum pressure from June to September, hen it is about 29 88 in., the annual range of monthly mean pressure being thus only 0·20 in., so that the Pole may be said to be in a region of permanently high atmospheric pressure. Cyclonic depressions crossed the region of the “Fram's” track with considerable frequency, 73 being experienced in the three years, the frequency being greatest in winter but the wind velocity in cyclones greatest in summer; the most common direction of movement was from west to east. The average velocity of the cyclonic winds encountered by the “Fram” was only about 29 m. per hour, the highest 40 m. per hour, the portion of the Arctic Sea she crossed being much less stormy than the coasts of the Arctic lands, where winds have been recorded of far greater severity, e.g. 45 m. per hour in Spitsbergen in 1882, 55 m. per hour in Teplitz Bay, Franz Josef Land, in 1900, 62 m. per hour on the Siberian coast in the “Vega” in 1879, and as much as 90 m per hour at Karmakul in Novaya Zemlya in 1883. There seems little doubt that the interior of the polar area is a fair weather zone as compared with its margins, where the contrast of the seasons is more marked.
Flora.—The land flora of the Arctic regions, although necessarily confined to the lower levels which are free from snow for some time every year, and greatly reduced in luxuriance and number of species as compared with the flora of the temperate zone, is still in its own way both rich and varied, and it extends to the most northerly land known. In some of the fjords of western Greenland and also of Ellesmere Land almost on the 80th parallel the prevailing colour of the landscape in summer is due to vegetation and not to rock. The plants which occur on the margin of the Arctic Sea and in the polar islands represent the hardier species of the North European, Asiatic and American flora, the total number of species amounting to probably about a thousand phanerogams and a still larger number of cryptograms. The habit of all is lowly, but some grasses grow to a height of 1 ft 6 in., and the mosses, of which the Eskimo make their lamp-wicks, frequently form cushions more than a foot in depth. Trees are absent north of 73° N, which is the extreme point reached in Siberia, or they are dwarfed to the height of shrubs as in southern Greenland, or farther north to that of the prevailing herbage. The flowers of many Arctic species of phanerogams have an intensely brilliant colour. The plains and lower slopes of the plateaux of Ellesmere Land and Heiberg Land and the plain of Peary Land north of Greenland are sufficiently clothed with vegetation to support large numbers of rodents and ruminants, the plants occurring not as occasional curiosities, but as the normal summer covering of the ground, playing their full part in the economy of nature. The cold of winter is not sufficient to put a stop to plant life even at the pole of cold in northern Siberia; and there is no reason to doubt that if there were islands close to the North Pole they would bear vegetation.
Fauna.—Animal life is comparatively abundant in the waters of the Arctic Sea, though the whalebone whale, Balaena mystecetis, has become almost extinct by reason of the energy with which its pursuit has been carried on. The white whale and narwhal still abound in the open waters as far north as ships can go. The walrus and several species of seal prey on the marine life, and the polar bear, the king of Arctic beasts, probably roams the whole surface of the frozen sea in pursuit of seals and the larger fish. The other Arctic carnivore include the Arctic fox and wolf, the latter attacking all the land mammalia except the polar bear and old musk-oxen. The wild reindeer is still found in all the circum-polar lands except Franz Josef Land; but its range does not extend so far to the north as that of the typical ruminant of the polar lands, the musk-ox (Ovibos moschatus), which now abounds only in Peary Land, north Greenland and in the American Arctic Archipelago, though it was formerly circum-polar in its distribution. The Arctic hare is almost equally characteristic and more abundant, and the lemming probably more common still. The ermine and other valuable fur-bearing animals also occur. The animals are either permanently white like the polar bear, or change their coats with the season, being brown in summer and white in winter like the hares and lemmings. The birds of the Arctic regions are all migrants, retreating southward in winter but nesting in incredible numbers on the Arctic coast-lands, and in summer probably finding their way as individuals to every part. They are mainly sea-birds, though the snow bunting, the Arctic owl and other land birds are amongst the summer visitors. It must be remembered that the elevated plateaux of the interior of Greenland and of many of the large islands are totally devoid of life of every kind on account of their unchanging covering of snow and the intensely rigorous climate due to their great altitude.
Arctic People.—The conditions of life in the continental parts of the Arctic regions are extremely severe as regards temperature in the winter, but it has been found possible for civilized people to live permanently both in the extreme north of North America and in the north of Siberia. In the north of Norway where the winter is mild on account of the warm south-westerly winds from the open Atlantic, organized communities dwell within the Arctic Circle in free communication with the south by telegraph, telephone, steamer, and in some cases by rail also, all the year round. The climate on the coast of Norway is scarcely less favourable in the north than in the south except for the absence of light in winter when the sun never rises, and the absence of darkness in summer when the sun never sets. If there were natural products of sufficient value permanent settlements might arise in any part of the Arctic regions where there is land free from snow in summer; but as a rule Arctic land is poor in mineral wealth and the pursuit of whales and seals requires only a summer visit. The original people of the farthest north of Europe are now represented by the Lapps, who lead a migratory life, depending mainly on fishing and on their herds of reindeer. Farther east their place is taken by the Samoyedes who live along the coast of the Kara Sea and the Yalmal Peninsula; they have also a small settlement in Novaya Zemlya The Samoyedes, like the Lapps, live on the produce of the sea in summer and on their herds of reindeer, moving rapidly over the frozen country in winter by means of reindeer and dog sledges. Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land appear never to have had native inhabitants. Along the coast of Siberia there is no continuous population, except in the land of the Chukchis in the extreme east between the Kolyma river and Bering Strait, but small settlements of many tribes of pagan hyper bore ans occur here and there. North American Indian tribes wander far to the north of the Arctic Circle in Canada and Alaska, keeping their hereditary enemies the Eskimo to the coast and islands The Eskimo of the American coast are intermingling not only with the American whalers but also with the Polynesians who come north as part of the crew of the whalers, and the pure race is tending to disappear. The traces of Eskimo encampments in the Polar archipelago, where no Eskimo now live, may mark a former wider range of hunting grounds, or a greater extension of the population. The Greenland Eskimo are the most typical and the best known of their race. A few hundred live on the east coast, where they were formerly much more numerous. The greater part of the west coast Eskimo are now civilized members of the Danish colonies, and it is stated that whereas in 1855 only about 30% of the population were half-breeds, the blending of the Eskimo and Europeans is now so complete that no full-blooded Eskimo remain in Danish Greenland. The tribe of Eskimo living to the north of Melville Bay the glaciers of which separate them from the people of Danish Greenland, was first described by Sir John Ross, who called them Arctic Highlanders. They have been fully studied by Commander Peary, who succeeded in utilizing them in his great series of journeys, and to their aid he attributes the success of his method of Arctic travelling.
The Arctic Sea.
According to its geographical position, the Arctic Sea might be described as the sea situated north of the Arctic Circle; but according to its natural configuration, it is better defined as the gulf-like northern termination of the long and relatively narrow Atlantic arm of the ocean which extends north between Europe on one side and America on the other. By this situation as the northern end of a long arm of the ocean its physical conditions are to a very great extent determined. This Arctic gulf is bounded by the northern coasts of Europe, Siberia, North America, the American Arctic archipelago, Greenland and Iceland. Its entrance is the opening between Europe and Labrador divided by Iceland, Greenland and the American Arctic islands; and its natural southern boundary would be the submarine ridge extending from Scotland and the Shetland Islands through the Faeroe Islands and Iceland to Greenland, and continuing on the other side of Greenland across Davis Strait to Baffin Land This ridge separates the depression of the Arctic Sea, filled with cold water at the bottom, from the deep depression of the North Atlantic The Arctic Sea communicates with the Pacific Ocean through Bering Strait, which is, however, only 49 m. broad and 27 fathoms deep. The area of the Arctic Sea may be estimated to be about 3,600,000 sq. m., of which nearly two-thirds (or 2,300,000 sq. m.) is continuously covered by floating ice.
The Arctic Sea may be divided into the following parts: (1) The North Polar Basin (including the Siberian Sea), bounded by the northern coasts of Siberia (from Bering Strait to the western Taimyr Peninsula), Franz Josef Land, Spitsbergen, Greenland, Grinnell Land, Axel Heiberg Land, Ringnes Land, the Parry Islands and Alaska; (2) the Kara Sea, between Novaya Zemlya and the Siberian coast, south of a line from the north point of the former to Lonely Island (Ensomheden) and Nordenskiold Island; (3) the Barents and Murman Sea, bounded by Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land, Spitsbergen, Bear Island and the northern coasts of Norway and Russia; (4) the Norwegian Sea, between Norway, Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, Iceland and the Faeroes; (5) the Greenland Sea, between Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, Iceland and Greenland; (6) Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, between Greenland, Ellesmere Land, North Devon and Baffin Land.
Depths.—The Arctic Sea forms an extended depression separating the two largest continental masses of the world—the European-Asiatic (Eurasia) and America. Along its centre this depression is deep, but around its whole margin, on both sides, it is unusually shallow—a shallow submarine plateau or drowned plain extending northward from both continents, forming the largest known continental shelf. North of Europe this shelf may be considered as reaching Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land, extending over more than 10 degrees of latitude, although there is a somewhat deeper depression in between. North of Spitsbergen it reaches beyond 81° N, and north of Franz Josef Land probably somewhat north of 82° N. North of Siberia the shelf is 350 m. broad, or more, with depths of 50 to 80 fathoms, or less. In longitude 135° E. it reaches nearly 79° N., where the bottom suddenly sinks to form a deep sea with depths of 2000 fathoms or more. Farther east it probably has a similar northward extension. North of America and Greenland the shelf extends to about latitude 84° N. This shelf, or drowned plain, evidently marks an old extension of the continents, and its northern edge must be considered as the real margin of their masses, the coasts of which have probably been overflowed by the sea at some comparatively recent geological period. On this submarine plateau the Arctic lands are situated—Spitsbergen (with Seven Islands to the north, Bear Island and Hope Island to the south), Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, Lonely Island. the New Siberia Islands, Wrangel Island, the American Arctic archipelago. The depth of the shelf is, especially north of Siberia, very uniform, and usually not more than 50 to 80 fathoms. North of Europe it is intersected by a submarine fjord-like depression, or broad channel, extending eastward from the Norwegian Sea. Between Norway and Bear Island this depression is about 240 fathoms deep, and between Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land 100 to 150 fathoms deep. It gives off several submerged fjords or channels towards the south-east into the shallow Murman Sea, e.g. one channel. more than 100 fathoms deep, along the Murman coast towards the entrance of the White Sea; another narrow channel, in parts 100 fathoms deep, along the south-west coast of Novaya Zemlya through Kara Strait. It also extends into the Kara Sea, rounding the north point of Novaya Zemlya and forming a narrow channel along its eastern coast. On the American side similar but much narrower submarine depressions, which may be called submarine fjords, extend from Baffin Bay into the continental shelf, northward through Smith Sound, Kane Basin and Kennedy Channel, and westward through Lancaster Sound.
The greatest depths in the Arctic Sea have been found in the North Polar Basin, where depths of 2100 fathoms, in about 81° N. and 130° E., have been measured with certainty. It is deeper than 1650 fathoms along the whole route of the “Fram,” from about 79° N. and 138° E. to near Spitsbergen. In 841° N. and about 75° E. the depth is 2020 fathoms, and in 83° N. and 13° E. it is 1860 fathoms. The northern and eastern extension of this deep basin is not known. Commander Peary reports a depth of 1500 fathoms with no bottom at 5 sea miles from the Pole (about 89° 55′ N.) where he tried to obtain a sounding It was formerly believed that still greater depths existed west of Spitsbergen, in the so-called Swedish deep, where 2600 fathoms had been sounded, but the Nathorst expedition in 1898 found no greater depths there than about 1700 fathoms. The Norwegian Sea, farther south, is 2000 fathoms deep midway between Iceland and Norway, in about 68° N. This so-called Norwegian deep is, as before stated, separated from the North Atlantic Basin by the Wyville Thomson ridge and the Faeroe-Iceland ridge. Farther north there is a low transverse ridge extending eastwards from Jan Mayen, in about 72° N., which is about 1300 fathoms deep. North of this the sea is again deeper-1985 fathoms in 75° N. From the north-west corner of Spitsbergen a submarine ridge extends in a north-westerly direction, with depths of about 430 fathoms in 81° N. and about 4° E. How far this ridge extends is unknown, but there is a probability that it reaches Greenland, and thus separates the Swedish and the Norwegian deep from the deep depression of the North Polar Basin. Baffin Bay forms, probably, a relatively deep basin of about 1000 or 1200 fathoms, which is separated from the West Atlantic Basin by the shallow submarine ridge from Greenland to Baffin Land in about 65° or 66° N.
The deposit composing the bottom of the Arctic Sea contains in its northern part, in the North Polar Basin, extremely little matter of organic origin. It is formed mainly of mineral material, sandy clay of very fine grain, to an extent which is hardly found in any other part of the ocean with similar depths. It contains only from 1 to 4% of carbonate of lime. Farther south, in the sea between Spitsbergen and Greenland, the amount of carbonate of lime gradually increases owing to the shells of foraminifera (especially biloculinae); west of Spitsbergen the proportion rises to above 20 or even 30%, while in the direction of Greenland it is considerably lower.
The circulation of the Arctic Sea may be explained firstly by the vertical and horizontal distribution of temperature and salinity (i.e. density); secondly, by the influence of the winds, especially on the ice-covered surface. The currents in this sea may to some extent be considered as convection currents, caused by the cooling of the water near the surface, which becomes heavier, sinks, and must be replaced on the surface by warmer water coming from the south, which is also influenced by the prevailing winds. On account of the rotation of the earth the northward-running water on the surface, as well as the sinking water, will be driven in a north-easterly or easterly direction, while the southward-flowing water along the bottom, as well as the rising water, is driven south-west or westward. This very simple circulation, however, is to a great extent complicated on the one hand by the irregular configuration of the sea-bottom, especially the transverse submarine ridges—e.g. the Spitsbergen ridge, the Jan Mayen ridge, and the Scotland-Faeroe-Iceland ridge, and on the other hand by the circumstance that the upper water strata of the sea are comparatively light in spite of their low temperature. These strata, about 100 or 120 fathoms thick, are diluted by the addition of fresh water from the North European, Siberian, Canadian and Alaskan rivers, as well as by precipitation, while at the same time the evaporation from the surface of the mostly ice-covered sea is insignificant. The light surface strata will have a tendency to spread over the heavier water farther south, and thus the polar surface currents running southward along the east coasts of Greenland, Baffin Land and Labrador are formed, owing their westerly course to the rotation of the earth. These currents are certainly to a great extent helped and increased by the prevailing winds of the region. The winds get a firm hold on the rough surface of the floating ice, which, with its deep hummocks and ridges, gets a good grip of the water, transferring the movement of the surface immediately down to at least 5 or 10 fathoms.
The chief currents running into the Arctic Sea are the following:—
1. The Gulf Stream, or Atlantic drift, passing north-eastward over the Scotland-Faeroe-Iceland ridge, along the west coast of Norway, with one arm branching off eastward round the North Cape into the Barents Sea, and another branch running northward along the margin of the shelf between Norway, Bear Island and Spitsbergen, passing as a very narrow current along the west coast of the latter, over the Spitsbergen ridge (at its north-west corner), and into the North Polar Basin, where it flows gradually northward and eastward (on account of the rotation of the earth) below the cold but lighter layer, 100 fathoms thick, of polar water, and fills the whole basin below 100 or 120 fathoms to the bottom with Atlantic water.
2. The Irminger Current, running north along the west coast of Iceland. One part branches off westward and southward again in Denmark Strait, following the Greenland Polar Current, whilst another smaller part runs northward, eastward and south-eastward to the north and east of Iceland.
3. An Atlantic current runs northward along the west coast of Greenland, passes the ridge across Davis Strait, and flows into Baffin Bay, forming its deeper strata below the polar water in a similar way to the Gulf Stream in the North Polar Basin. There is a possibility that some slight portion of this current even reaches the latter along the bottom of the deep channel through Smith Sound.
4. A small current running northward into the North Polar Basin through Bering Strait.
The Arctic Sea receives also a contribution of fresh water from the rivers of northern Euro, Siberia and America, as well as from the glaciers of Greenland and the precipitation over the whole area of the sea itself.
The chief currents running out of the Arctic Sea are: (1) The Greenland Polar Current, running southward along the east coast of Greenland, and dividing into two branches north of Iceland—(a) the east Greenland branch, passing south through Denmark Strait and rounding Cape Farewell; (b) the east Iceland branch, running south-eastward between Iceland and Jan Mayen, towards the Faeroes. It seems as if only a small portion of this current actually passes the Faero-Iceland ridge and reaches the Atlantic Ocean. The greater part is partly mixed with the water of the Gulf Stream and is turned by the latter in a north-easterly direction, forming a kind of eddy or vortex movement in the southern Norwegian Sea. (2) The Labrador Polar Current, formed b the water running south through Smith Sound, Lancaster Sound and Jones Sound, as well as water from Baffin Bay, and also from the east Greenland current rounding Cape Farewell and crossing Davis Strait. (3) Along the south-east coast of Spitsbergen a polar current also passes in a south-westerly or westerly direction past South Cape, where it meets the Gulf Stream. (4) A small current probably also runs out along the western side of Bering Strait.
Temperature and Salinity.—While the temperature is comparatively uniform, with small variations, the difference in salinity between the upper and lower strata is greater than in most other parts of the ocean. In the North Polar Basin the vertical distribution of temperature as well as salinity is very much the same in all places examined. Near the surface, from 0 down to 100 fathoms, the water is below the freezing point of fresh water—with a minimum of between 28·7° (−1·8° C.) and 28·6° (−1·9° C.) at a depth of about 30 fathoms—and is much diluted with fresh water (see above), the salinity gradually increasing downward from about 29 or 30 per mille near the surface to nearly 35 per mille in 100 fathoms. Below 100 fathoms the temperature as well as the salinity gradually increases, until they approach their maximum in about 160 or 200 fathoms, where the temperature varies between 32·5° (0·3° C.), north of the New Siberia Islands, and about 33·8° (1° C) north of Franz Josef Land; and the salinity is about 35·1 per mille. From this depth the temperature gradually sinks downward; 32° (0° C.) is found at about 490 fathoms in the western part of the basin—e.g. between about 84° N. 15° E. and 851° N. 58° E., while it is found in about 400 fathoms farther east—e.g. in 811° N. and 123° E. In depths between 1400 and 1600 fathoms the temperature has a second minimum between 30·6° (−0·8° C.) and 30·4° (−0·9° C.), below which depth the temperature again rises slowly, a few tenths of a degree towards the bottom. In all depths below 200 fathoms the salinity of the water remains very much the same, about 35·1 per mille, with very slight variations. This comparatively warm and saline water evidently originates from the branch of the Gulf Stream passing north across the submarine ridge from north-west Spitsbergen. The vertical distribution of temperature and salinity is very much the same, summer and winter, throughout the North Polar Basin, except near the surface, which in summer is covered by a layer of fresh water arising from the melting of the snow-covered surface of the floe-ice. This fresh-water layer may attain a thickness of 5 or 6 ft. between the floes. North of the Siberian coast the sea is, during summer, covered with a layer of warm water from the Siberian rivers, and the temperature of the surface may rise to several degrees above freezing-point.
In the Norwegian and Greenland Seas there are greater variations of temperature. Below a certain limit, which in the northern part (on the eastern side) is about 550 fathoms deep, and in the southern part between 300 and 400 fathoms deep, the whole basin of this sea is filled with water which has an unusually uniform salinity of about 34·92 per mille, and the temperature of which is below zero centigrade, gradually sinking downward from the above-mentioned limit, where it is 32° (0° C.), and down to 29·8° (−1·2° C.) or 29·6° (−1·3° C.) near the bottom in 1400 or 1600 fathoms. This cold underlying water of such a remarkably uniform and comparatively low salinity is formed chiefly in a small area between Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen, by the formation of ice and cooling down of the Atlantic surface water by radiation of heat during the winter. In this manner the surface water becomes heavier than the underlying water and gradually sinks to the bottom. This water seems to be distinctly different from the hitherto known water filling the deep of the North Polar Basin, as it has a lower salinity and lower temperature, the known bottom temperature of the North Polar Basin being between 30·7° (−0·7° C) and 30·4° (−0-9° C.), and the salinity about 35·1 per mille. This fact seems to indicate that there can be no direct communication between the deep depression of the North Polar Basin and the Norwegian-Greenland Sea, which are probably separated by a submarine ridge running from the north-west corner of Spitsbergen to Greenland.
The above-mentioned layer of uniform cold water of the Norwegian-Greenland Sea is, along its eastern side, covered by the warm and saline water of the Gulf Stream flowing northward along the west coast of Norway, Bear Island and Spitsbergen, and forming the upper strata of the sea about 300 to 500 fathoms deep. The maximum temperature of this water is on the surface about 46° (8° C) to 50° (10° C.) west of northern Norway, and about 37° (3° C.) to 39° (4° C.) west of Spitsbergen. The salinity is generally between 35 0 and 35-3 per mille.
Along the western side of this sea, towards the east coast of Greenland, the underlying cold water is covered by the less saline water of the polar current, which in the upper strata of the sea, from the surface down to about 100 fathoms, has very much the same temperature and salinity as in the upper cold and less saline strata of the North Polar Basin. Near the east coast of Greenland, a layer of comparatively warm and saline water, with a temperature of 32·7° (0·4° C.) and a salinity of 35·2 per mille, has been found (by the Ryder expedition in 1891) below the cold and lighter polar water in a depth of 70 to 90 fathoms. This warmer undercurrent is a continuation of the warm Spitsbergen current sending off a branch westward from Spitsbergen, and thus forming a great vortex movement in the Spitsbergen(Greenland Sea similar to the one mentioned farther south in the Norwegian Sea.
In Barents Sea the temperature and salinity are highest in the western part near Norway or between Norway and Bear Island, where the eastern branch of the Gulf Stream enters and where in summer the salinity generally is between 34·8 and 35 per mille from the surface down to the bottom, and the surface temperature generally is about 41° or 43° (5° C. or 6° C.), and the bottom temperature is above zero centigrade. The eastern part of Barents Sea is filled with water of a little lower salinity, the deeper strata of which are very cold, with temperature even as low as 28·9° (−1·7° C), but often with salinity above 35·0 per mille This cold and saline water is formed during the formation of ice on the sea-surface. The bottom temperature is everywhere in the eastern part below zero centigrade and generally below −1° C.
The Kara Sea is covered near the surface with a layer of cold water much diluted by the fresh water from the Siberian rivers, especially the Ob and the Yenisei. The salinity varies between 29 and 34 per mille, near the mouth of the rivers it is naturally much lower.
The vertical distribution of temperature and salinity in Baffin Bay seems to be very similar to that of the North Polar Basin, with a cold but less saline upper stratum of water-with a minimum temperature of about 28·9° (−1·7° C.)—and a warmer and more saline deeper stratum from 100 to 200 fathoms downwards, with a maximum temperature of 33·6° (0·9° C.) in about 200 fathoms, and the temperature slowly decreasing towards the bottom.
Arctic Ice.—As before mentioned, at least two-thirds of the Arctic Sea is constantly covered by drifting ice. This ice is mostly formed on the surface of the sea itself by freezing, the so-called floe-ice or sea-ice. A small part is also river-ice, formed on the rivers, especially those of Siberia, and carried into the sea during the spring or summer. Another comparatively small part of the ice originates from the glaciers of the Arctic lands. These pieces of glacier-ice or icebergs are, as a rule, easily distinguished from the floe-ice by their size and structure. They occur almost exclusively in the seas round Greenland, where they originate from the glaciers descending into the sea from the inland ice of Greenland. Some small icebergs are also formed in Franz Josef Land, Spitsbergen, Novaya Zemlya, Grinnell Land, &c., but they are comparatively insignificant, and are not as a rule carried far from the coasts. Sea-ice or floe-ice is formed during the autumn, winter and spring, especially in the North Polar Basin, but also in the Kara Sea, the greater part of Barents Sea, the northernmost part of the Norwegian Sea (near Bear Island and towards Jan Mayen), Greenland Sea and Baffin Bay. The floe-ice does not, as a rule, grow thicker than 7 or 8 ft in one year, but when it floats in the water for some years it may attain a thickness of 16 ft. or more directly by freezing. By the constant upheaval from pressure much greater thicknesses are attained in the piled-up hummocks and rubble which may be 20 to 30 ft. high above the water when floating. During the summer the floe-ice decreases again by melting partly on the surface owing to the direct radiation of heat from the sun, partly on the under side owing to the higher temperature of the water in which it floats. The first kind of melting is that which prevails in the North Polar Basin, which the second occurs in more southern latitudes. The floe-ice is constantly more or less in movement, carried by winds and currents. The changing wind, and also to a great extent the changing tidal current, causes diverging movements in the ice by breaking it into larger or smaller floes. When the floes separate, lanes and channels are formed, when they meet, ice-pressures arise, and the floes are piled up to form hummocks or ridges, and thus the uneven polar ice arises. In the North Polar Basin the floe-ice is slowly carried by the prevailing winds and the currents in an average direction from Bering Strait and the New Siberia Islands, north of Franz Josef Land and Spitsbergen, near the North Pole, towards the Greenland Sea and southward along the east coast of Greenland. Such a drift of an ice-floe from the sea north of Bering Strait to the east coast of Greenland probably takes, as a rule, four or five years, and the floes found in this part of the sea are not, therefore, generally older. What the drift of the ice is on the American side of the North Polar Basin is still little known. But there it is probably more or less blocked up in its southward movement by the islands of the American Arctic archipelago, and the ice-floes may thus grow very old and thick. Commander Peary found a strong easterly movement of the floes in the region north of Grant Land in 1907. The southward distribution of the drifting floe-ice (the pack ice) in Barents Sea, Norwegian-Greenland Sea and Davis Strait may differ much from one year to another, and these variations are evidently due to more or less periodical variations in the currents and also in the directions of the prevailing winds. In most places the ice has its most southerly distribution during the late winter and spring, while the late summer and autumn (end of August and September) is the most open season.
Biological Conditions.—The development of organic life is comparatively poor in those parts of the Arctic Sea which are continuously covered by ice. This is, amongst other things, proved by the bottom deposits, which contain exceptionally little carbonate of lime of organic origin. The reason is evidently that the thick ice prevents to a great extent the development of plant life on the surface of the sea by absorbing the light, and as the plant life forms the base for the development of animal life, this has also very unfavourable conditions. The result is that—e.g. in the interior of the North Polar Basin—there is exceptionally little plant life in the sea under the ice-covering, and the animal life both near the surface and in deeper strata is very poor in individuals, whilst it is comparatively rich in species. Near the outskirts of the Arctic Sea, where the sea is more or less open during the greater part of the year, the pelagic plant life as well as animal life is unusually rich, and, especially during the early summer, there is often here such a development of plankton (i.e. pelagic life) on the sea-surface as is hardly found in any other part of the ocean. It seems as if the polar water is specially favourable for the development of pelagic plant life, which makes the flora, and consequently also the fauna, flourish as soon as the ice covering disappears and the water surface is exposed to the full sunlight of the long Arctic day. At the same time the temperature of the water uses, and thus the conditions for the chemical changes of matter and nutritive assimilation are much improved. The Arctic Sea, more especially the North Polar Basin, might thus be considered as a lung or reservoir in the circulation of the ocean where the water produces very little life, and thus, as it were, gets time to rest and accumulate those substances necessary for organic life, which are everywhere present only in quite minimal quantities. It is also a remarkable fact of interest in this connexion that the greatest fisheries of the world seem to be limited to places where waters from the Arctic Ocean and from more southern seas meet—e.g. Newfoundland, Iceland, Lofoten and Finmarken in Norway.
The mammalian life is also exceptionally rich in individuals along the outskirts of the Arctic Sea. We meet in those waters, especially along the margin of the drifting ice, enormous quantities of seals of various kinds. as well as whales, which live on the plankton and the fishes in the water. A similar development of mammalian life IS not met with anywhere else in the ocean, except perhaps in the Antarctic Ocean and Bering Sea, where, however, similar conditions are present. In the interior of the Arctic Sea or the North Polar Basin mammalian life is very poor, and consists mostly of some straggling polar bears which probably occasionally wander everywhere over the whole expanse of ice, some seals, especially Phoca foetida, which has been seen as far north as between 84° and 85° N., and a few whales, especially the narwhal, which has been seen in about 85° N.
The bird life is also exceptionally rich on the outskirts of the Arctic Sea, and the coasts of most Arctic lands are every summer inhabited by millions of sea-birds, forming great colonies almost on every rock. These birds are also dependent for their living on the rich plankton of the surface of the sea. In the interior of the Arctic Sea the bird life is very poor, but straggling seabirds may probably be met with occasionally everywhere, during summer-time, over the whole North Polar Basin.
Bibliography.—For very full references to polar exploration see A. W. Greely, Handbook of Polar Discovery (4th ed., London and New York, 1910), and for a nearly complete bibliography of earlier polar literature see J. Chavanne and others, The Literature of the Polar Regions (Vienna, 1878). W. Scoresby, An Account of the Arctic Regions (2 vols. Edinburgh, 1820), W. E. Parry, Attempt to reach the North Pole (London, 1828); S. Osborn, The Discovery of the North-West Passage (London, 1857); M‘Clintock, A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin, &c. (London, 1859); G. S. Nares, Voyage to the Polar Sea, 1875–1876 (2 vols, London, 1878), A. H. Markham, The Great Frozen Sea (London, 1878, &c); J. Richardson, The Polar Regions (Edinburgh, 1861); A v. Middendorff, “Der Golfstrom ostwärts vom Nordkap,” Petermanns Mitteilungen (Gotha, 1871); A Petermann, “Die Erschliessung eines Theiles des nördlichen Eismeeres . . . im Karischen Meere, 1870,” Petermanns Mitteilungen (1871); and numerous other papers in the same periodical, C. R. Markham, The Threshold of the Unknown Region (London, 1873), Die zweite deutsche Nordpolfahrt unter Führung des Capt. K. Koldewey (2 vols, Leipzig, 1873–1874); Manual of the Natural History, Geology, and Physics of Greenland and the neighbouring Regions, published by the Admiralty (London, 1875); Arctic Geology and Ethnology, published by the Royal Geographical Society (London, 1875), C. Weyprecht, Die Metamorphosen des Polareises (Vienna, 1879); papers on the results of the Austro-Hungarian Expedition, 1872–1874, in Petermanns Mitteilungen (1875, and especially 1878), J. Payer, New Lands within the Arctic Circle (2 vols, London, 1876), E Bessels, Scientific Results of the US. Arctic Expedition, C. F. Hall commanding, vol i. (Washington, 1874), Die amerikanische Nordpol-Expedition (Leipzig, 1879), The Norwegian North Atlantic Expedition, 1876–1878, especially H. Mohn, “The North Ocean its Depths, Temperature and Circulation” (Christiania, 1887), and “Chemistry,” by H. Tornöe and L. Schmelck (Christiania, 1880, 1882); A. E. Nordenskiöld, The Voyage of the “Vega” (London, 1881); several reports on the six voyages of the “Willem Barents” in the summers of 1878 to 1883, published in Dutch (Amsterdam and Haarlem, 1879–1887); De Long, The Voyage of the “Jeannette”, the Ship and Ice Journals of George W. De Long (2 vols, London, 1883), Otto Pettersson, “Contributions to the Hydrography of the Siberian Sea,” in Vega-Expeditionens vetenskapliga Iakttagelser, vol ii. (Stockholm, 1883); Axel Hamberg, “Hydrografisk Kemiska Iakttagelser under den svenska Expeditionen till Grönland, 1883,” Bihang till k. svenska vet.-akad Handlingar, vol. ix. No. 16 and vol. x. No. 13 (Stockholm, 1884 and 1885), O. Krümmel, Handbuch der Ozeanographie (2 vols, Stuttgart, 2nd ed, 1907, &c); C. Ryder, “Den Ostgrönlandske Expedition,” Meddelelser om Grönland, pt. xvii. (Copenhagen, 1895); Isforhldene i Nordhavet 1877–1892, with 10 charts (Copenhagen, 1896); O. Pettersson and G. Ekman, “Die hydrographischen Verhältnisse der oberen Wasserschichten des nördlichen Nordmeeres zwischen Spitzbergen, Grönland und der norwegischen Küste in den Jahren 1896 und 1897,” Bihang till der K. Svenska Vet -Akad. handlingar, vol xxiii. pt. ii No. 4, The Danish Ingolf Expedition; see especially M. Knudsen, “Hydrography,” in vol. i (Copenhagen, 1899), F. Nansen, Farthest North (2 vols, London, 1897), The Norwegian North Polar Expedition, 1893–1896: Scientific Results; see especially F. Nansen, “The Oceanography of the North Polar Basin,” in vol. ii No. 9; “Some Results of the Norwegian Arctic Expedition, 1893–1896,” Geographical Journal (London, May 1897). By V. Garde and others there are, since 1895, yearly reports with charts of the state of the ice of the Arctic seas, in the Nautical-Meteorological Annual of the Danish Meteorological Institute (Copenhagen) Several Russian papers in various Russian periodicals, e.g. N. Knipovitch, “Material concerning the Hydrology of the White Sea and the Murman Sea,” Bulletin de l'académie imp. des sciences de St Pétersbourg (October 1897); Prince B. Galitzin, “On the Extension of the Gulf Stream in the Arctic Ocean,” ibid. (November 1898, both in Russian), &c; N. Knipovitch, “Hydrologische Untersuchungen im europaischen Eismeer,” Ann. d. Hydr u. marit. Meteorolog. (1905), Filip Akerblom, “Recherches océanographiques Expedition de M. A. G. Nathorst en 1899,” Upsala Univesitets Arsskrift (1903). Math. och Naturvetenskap II. (Upsala, 1904); Axel Hamberg, “Hydrographische Arbeiten der von A. G. Nathorst geleiteten schwedischen Polarexpedition 1898,” Kongl. svenska vet -akad. Handlingar, vol. xli. No. 1 (Stockholm, 1906), F. Nansen, “Northern Waters,” Videnskabs Selskabets Skrifter, vol. i. No. 3 (Christiania, 1906); B. Helland-Hansen and F. Nansen, “The Norwegian Sea,” Report on Norwegian Fishery and Marine Investigations, vol. ii. No 2 (Bergen, 1909); Duc d’Orléans, Croisière océanographique dans la Mer du Grönland en 1905 (Brussels, 1909), see especially B. Helland-Hansen and E. Koefoed, Hydrographie. (H. R. M.; F. N.)
History of Antarctic Exploration.—Although the Antarctic region was not reached by the first explorer until the Arctic region had been for centuries a resort of adventurers in search of the route to the East, the discovery of the south polar region was really the more direct outcome of the main stream of geographical exploration. It was The “South Land.” early understood by the Greek geographers that the known world covered only a small portion of the northern hemisphere and that the whole southern hemisphere awaited exploration, with its torrid, temperate and frigid zones repeating the climatic regions familiar in the northern hemisphere, the habitable land of the south temperate zone being separated from the known world by the practically impassable belt of the torrid zone. During the middle ages the sphericity of the earth came to be viewed as contrary to Scripture and was generally discredited, and it was not until Prince Henry the Navigator began in 1418 to encourage the penetration of the torrid zone in the effort to reach India by circumnavigating Africa that the exploration of the southern hemisphere began. The doubling of the Cape of Good Hope in 1487 by Bartholomew Diaz first brought explorers within touch of the Antarctic cold, and proved that the ocean separated Africa from any Antarctic land that might exist. The passage of Magellan's Strait in 1520 showed that America and Asia also were separated from the Antarctic continent, which was then believed to extend from Tierra del Fuego southward. The doubling of Cape Horn by Drake in 1578 proved that the Tierra del Fuego archipelago was of small extent and that any continent which lay to the south must be within the region of perpetual winter. Before this, however, vague reports of land to the south of the Malay archipelago had led European geographers to connect on their globes the coast of Tierra del Fuego with the coast of New Guinea, and allowing their imaginations to run riot in the vast unknown spaces of the south Atlantic, south Indian and Pacific oceans, they sketched the outlines of a vast continent stretching in parts into the tropics. The search for this great south land or Third World was a leading motive of explorers in the 16th and the early part of the 17th centuries, and no illusion ever died a harder death. It is not to the purpose here to describe in detail how Schouten and Le Maire rediscovered the southern extremity of Tierra del Fuego and named Cape Horn in 1615, how Quiros in 1606 took possession for the king of Spain of all the lands he had discovered in Australia del Espiritu Santo (the New Hebrides) and those he would discover “even to the Pole,” or how Tasman in 1642 showed that New Holland (Australia) was separated by sea from any continuous southern continent.
Voyagers round the Horn frequently met with contrary winds and were driven southward into snowy skies and ice-encumbered seas; but so far as can be ascertained none of them before 1770 reached the Antarctic circle, or knew it, if they did. The story of the discovery of land in 64° S. by Dirk Gerritsz on board the “Blijde Boodschap” in 1599 has recently been shown to be the result of the mistake of a commentator, Kasper Barlaeus, in 1622. Much controversy has arisen as to whether South Georgia was sighted in 1675 by La Roche, but the point is of no importance in the development of the history of exploration. It may safely be said that all the navigators who fell in with the southern ice up to 1750 did so by being driven off their course and not of set purpose An exception may perhaps be made in favour of Halley’s voyage in H.M.S. “Paramour” for magnetic investigations in the South Atlantic when he met the ice in 52° S. in January 1700; but that latitude was his farthest south. A determined effort on the part of the French naval officer Pierre Bouvet to discover the South Land described by a half legendary sieur de Gonneville resulted only in the discovery of Bouvet Island in 54° 10′ S., and in the navigation of 48 degrees of longitude of ice-cumbered sea nearly in 55° S. in 1739. In 1771 Yves Joseph Kerguelen sailed from France with instructions to proceed south from Mauritius in search of “a very large continent” He lighted upon a land in 50° S. which he called South France, and believed to be the central mass of the southern continent. He was sent out again to complete the exploration of the new land, and found it to be only an inhospitable island which he renamed in disgust the Isle of Desolation, but in which posterity has recognized his courageous efforts by naming it Kerguelen Land The obsession of the undiscovered continent culminated in the brain of Alexander Dalrymple, the brilliant and erratic hydrographer who was nominated by the Royal Society to command the Transit of Venus expedition to Tahiti in 1769, a post he coveted less for its astronomical interest than for the opportunity it would afford him of confirming the truthfulness of his favourite explorer Quiros The command of the expedition was given by the admiralty to Captain James Cook, whose geographical results were criticized by Dalrymple with a force and persistence which probably had some weight in deciding the admiralty to send Cook out again with explicit instructions to solve the problem of the southern continent.
Sailing in 1772 with the “Resolution,” a vessel of 462 tons under his own command and the “Adventure” of 336 tons under Captain Tobias Furneaux, Cook first searched in vain for Bouvet Island, then sailed for 20 degrees of longitude to the westward in James Cook.latitude 58° S., and then 30° eastward for the most part south of 60° S. a higher southern latitude than had ever been voluntarily entered before by any vessel On the 17th of January 1773 the Antarctic Circle was crossed for the first time in history and the two ships reached 67° 15′ S. in 39° 35′ E., where their course was stopped by ice. There Cook turned northward to look for South France, of the discovery of which he had received news at Cape Town, but from the rough determination of his longitude by Kerguelen, Cook reached the assigned latitude 10° too far east and did not see it He turned south again and was stopped by ice in 61° 52′ S. and 95° E. and continued eastward nearly on the parallel of 60° S. to 147° E. where on March 16th the approaching winter drove him northward for rest to New Zealand and the tropical islands of the Pacific. In November 1773 Cook left New Zealand, having parted company with the “Adventure,” and reached 60° S. in 177° W., whence he sailed eastward keeping as far south as the floating ice allowed The Antarctic Circle was crossed on the 20th of December and Cook remained south of it for three days, being compelled after reaching 67° 31′ S. to stand north again in 135° W. A long detour to 47° 50′ S. served to show that there was no land connexion between New Zealand and Tierra del Fuego, and turning south again Cook crossed the Antarctic circle for the third time in 109° 30′ W., and four days later his progress was blocked by ice in 71° 10′ S., 106° 54′ W. This point, reached on the 30th of January 1774, was the farthest south attained in the 18th century. With a great detour to the east, almost to the coast of South America, the expedition regained Tahiti for refreshment. In November 1774 Cook started from New Zealand and crossed the South Pacific without sighting land between 53° and 57° S. to Tierra del Fuego, then passing Cape Horn on the 29th of December he discovered the Isle of Georgia and Sandwich Land, the only ice-clad land he had seen, and crossed the South Atlantic to the Cape of Good Hope between 55° and 60° S., thereby wiping out Dalrymple’s continent from all the oceans and laying open the way for future Antarctic exploration by exploding the myth of a habitable southern continent. Cook’s most southerly discovery of land lay on the temperate side of the 60th parallel, and he convinced himself that if land lay farther south it was practically inaccessible and of no economic value.
Soon after Cook’s return sealers set out on voyages to South Georgia both from England and America, but no clear accounts of the southern limits of their voyages before the Sealers year 1819 can now be obtained. In February of that year William Smith of the brig Sealer’s Voyages.“Williams” trading between Monte Video and Valparaiso, rounding the Horn with a wide sweep to the south, saw land in 62° 40′ S. Repeating the voyage in October he saw the land distinctly, and named it New South Shetland. The “Williams” was chartered by the British naval commander on the Pacific station, and in 1820 Edward Bransfield, master R.N., surveyed the group and went as far as 64° 30′ among the islands. Meanwhile American sealers from Stonington, Connecticut, had begun operations on the newly discovered land, and one of these, Nathaniel B. Palmer, discovered the mountainous archipelago still farther south which now bears his name. In 1821–1822 George Powell, apparently a British sealer, discovered and surveyed the South Orkney Islands which, though typical Antarctic lands, lie outside the Antarctic region.
A voyage only second in importance to that of Cook was planned in Russia and sent out by the emperor Alexander I. under the conimand of Fabian von Bellingshausen in the “Vostok,” with Lieut. Lazareff in the “Mirni” company, both vessels being Bellings-hausen.about 500 tons. The object of the expedition was to supplement that of Cook by circumnavigating the Antarctic area, taking care to keep as far south as possible in those longitudes where Cook had made his northward detours Bellingshausen entered on his exploring work by sighting South Georgia at the end of December 1819, discovered the Traverse Islands, sighted the Sandwich group and met a solid ice-pack in 60° S., to get round which he made a wide detour, sailing east to the south of Cook’s track, and getting south of the 60th parallel in 8° W. On the 26th of January he crossed the Antarctic Circle in 3° W. and by February 1st had reached 69° 25′ in 1° 11′ W., a latitude which has never been surpassed on that meridian. Being stopped by ice, Bellingshausen turned northward and then continued to the east well to the south of Cook’s track, getting south again as the ice permitted and reaching 69° 6′ S. in 18° E. On this occasion he was able to sail for three degrees of longitude within the circle before being forced north of it by a succession of heavy gales He still kept eastward south of 65° S. and crossed the circle once more in 41° E., where the number of birds seen suggested the proximity of land, and in fact Enderby Land was not very far off, though out of sight. A storm of unexampled violence drove the ships northward, but they still held to the east south of 60° S. as far as 87° E., having followed the edge of the ice through those meridians south of Kerguelen Land where Cook had made a great detour to the north. Bellingshausen now made for Sydney to rest and refit, arriving there on the 29th of March 1820, after 131 days under sail from his last port. At Sydney Bellingshausen heard of the discovery of the South Shetlands, and leaving early in November reached the sixtieth parallel a month later in longitude 143° W., and sailing eastward kept south of that parallel through 145 degrees of longitude during sixty-five days, never out of sight of the ice, keeping close along the pack edge through the great gap left by Cook south of New Zealand He managed to cross the circle three times more, in 164° 30′ W., in 120° W. and in 92° 10′ W, where he reached 69° 52′ S., the culminating point of the voyage. As the cruise was supplementary to Cook’s, no attempt was made to get south of the meridian where that great navigator made his highest latitude On the 22nd of January 1821, the day after reaching his highest latitude, Bellingshausen sighted the first land ever seen within the Antarctic Circle, the little island named after Peter I. A week later another and larger land, named after Alexander I., was seen at a distance of 40 m. and sketches made of its bold outline in which the black rock stood out in contrast to the snow. Bellingshausen then made for the South Shetlands, where he met the American sealers, and thence returned to Russia. The voyage was a worthy pendant to that of Cook; it was carried out with a faithful devotion to instructions and consummate seamanship, and as a result it left only half the periphery of the Antarctic Circle within which land could possibly project beyond the Frigid Zone.
The next episode in the history of Antarctic exploration was the voyage of James Weddell, a retired master R.N., in 1823. Weddell was in command of the “Jane,” a brig of 160 tons, with the cutter “Beaufoy” of 65 tons in company, and after cruising among Weddell.the South Orkneys during January he started for the south on exploration, and as he was well equipped with chronometers his positions may be taken as of a far higher degree of accuracy than those of ordinary sealers. On the 20th of February he reached the highest latitude yet attained, 74° 15′ S. in 34° 17′ W., having seen much ice but no impenetrable pack, and at the farthest point the sea was clear and open, but the lateness of the season and the length of the return voyage decided him to go no farther. Weddell made interesting collections of Antarctic animals, including the type specimen of the seal which bears his name, and the book in which he describes his voyage testifies to the keenness of his observations and the soundness of his reasoning. The sea which he penetrated so far to the south he named after the reigning king, George IV., but it is now known as Weddell Sea.
In 1829 Captain Henry Foster, R.N., in H.M.S. “Chanticleer” spent some months in the South Shetlands carrying on pendulum and gravity observations at the most southerly harbour that could be found, and though he did not go south of 63° 50′ S. the careful observations which were made threw much light on the physical conditions of the Antarctic regions.
The firm of Enderby Brothers of London took a conspicuous part in the exploration of the Antarctic seas during the first four decades of the 19th century. They encouraged the masters of the whaling and sealing craft which they sent to the southern seas Biscoe.to take every opportunity that offered for exploration and to fix the position of any land seen with the greatest possible accuracy. The voyage of the Enderbys’ brig “Tula,” under the command of John Biscoe, R.N., with the cutter “Lively” in company, is worthy to rank with Cook’s and Bellingshausen’s expeditions, for it repeated and advanced upon their achievements with a mere fraction of their resources. Biscoe, who apparently had never heard of Bellingshausen’s discoveries, was a keen explorer and a man given to thinking over and reasoning upon all that he saw, and in many of his conclusions he was far in advance of his time. At the beginning of January 1831 Biscoe, who had been hunting vainly for seals on the Sandwich group, started on a voyage easterly to look for new islands, and in trying to get south of 60° S. he had to coast the impenetrable ice-pack as far as 10° W., and continuing he got within the Antarctic Circle in 1° E. on a track parallel to that of Bellingshausen but farther east. Contrary winds delayed the little vessels, no seal-bearing lands were to be found, but in spite of difficulties, constant danger from fogs and icebergs, and disappointed crews he held on eastward for five weeks far to the south of Cook’s track, and, except at one or two points, to the south of Bellingshausen’s also. Though his highest latitude was only 69° S. in 10° 43′ E. on the 28th of January, he remained south of the Antarctic Circle, or within a few miles of it, for another month, when, in longitude 49° 18′ E., he was rewarded by the discovery of land. But just as he was entering on a clear lead of water running straight for a promontory which he named Cape Ann, a terrific storm descended on the vessels, damaged them seriously and drove them helpless before it with the driving ice. A fortnight’s struggle with the wind and ice brought Cape Ann into sight again on the 16th of March. but the weather was not to be conquered, the sea was beginning to freeze and half the crew were helpless with the effects of exposure, so Biscoe was compelled to give up the fight and reluctantly let the land—now known as Enderby Land—drop out of sight astern. With only three men able to stand, Biscoe brought the “Tula” into Hobart Town, Tasmania, and the “Lively,” with only the master one man, and a wounded boy alive, just escaped shipwreck in Port Philip Bay. After recruiting their health and completing their crews the two captains put to sea again and spent some time in sealing on the shores of New Zealand and neighbouring islands. They started south once more, and crossed 60° S. in 131° W. on the 28th of January 1832. Biscoe kept between 60° and the Antarctic Circle, north of Bellingshausen’s route, for he dared not risk the lives of his second crew, but he got south to 67° S. in 72° W., and here, on the 14th of February, he again sighted land, which, in ignorance of Bellingshausen’s discoveries in the same region, he believed was the most southerly land yet known. He named it Adelaide Land after the queen. A few days later he passed a row of low ice-covered islands—the Biscoe Islands-running from W.S.W. to E.N.E. Beyond these islands lay the mountains of an extensive land of which Biscoe took possession in the name of King William IV., and to which the name of Graham Land was subsequently given. Biscoe returned home after an arduous two months’ sealing in the South Shetlands, and the splendid results of his relentless determination as an explorer won for him the gold medals of the young Geographical Societies of London and Paris.
In 1833 another of Enderbys' captains named Kemp reported the discovery of land in 66° S. and 60° E. about 10° east of Enderby Land. The last of the great voyages of exploration due to Enderby Brothers was the cruise of the “Eliza Scott” under Balleny.the command of John Balleny, with the cutter “Sabrina” in company. This voyage is interesting because it was the first attempted in high latitudes from east to west, and all those made in the opposite direction had suffered much from the buffetings of head winds. Balleny left Campbell Island south of New Zealand on the 17th of January 1839 and crossed the Antarctic Circle in 178° E. on the 29th. Heavy pack ice stopped him in 69° S., a higher latitude than had previously been reached in that region. On the 9th of February, after the little vessels had been working north-westward along the edge of the pack ice for more than a week, land was seen and found to be a group of mountainous islands—the Balleny Islands—one of which rose to a height of 12,000 ft., and another was an active volcano. Captain Freeman of the “Sabrina” made a momentary landing on one of the islands and was nearly drowned in the attempt, but secured a few stones which showed the rocks to be volcanic. The vessels held on their way westward between latitudes 63° and 65° S., far south of any earlier voyager, and land, or an appearance of land, to which the name of the “Sabrina” was given, was reported in 121° E. In 103° 40′, E. an iceberg was passed with a rock embedded in the ice, clear proof of land existing to the southward. A few days later the “Sabrina” was lost in a gale, but Balleny returned in safety.
About 1835 the importance of obtaining magnetic observations in the far south, and the scientific interest of the study of the south polar regions led to plans being put forward for expeditions in the United States, France and Great Britain. The French were Dumont D’Urvile.first in the field; an expedition, equipped in the frigates “Astrolabe” and “Zelée” under Jules Dumont D’Urville for ethnographical research in the Pacific Islands, was instructed to make an attempt to surpass Weddell’s latitude in the South Atlantic Ocean, and this D’Urville tried to do with conspicuous ill-success, for he never reached the Antarctic Circle though he spent the first two months of 1838 round the edge of the ice-pack south of the South Shetlands and the South Orkneys. Some portions of the land south of the South Shetlands were charted and named Joinville Island and Louis Philippe Land; but the addition to knowledge was not great. Two years later, after fulfilling the main purpose of his expedition in the Pacific, D’Urville resolved for the glory of France to attempt to reach the Magnetic Pole, towards which he was aware that a British and an American expedition were directing their course. He left Hobart Town on the 1st of January 1840, and on the 20th he crossed the 66th parallel in 140° E. and discovered land 3000 or 4000 ft. high, which he named Adélie Land and took possession of by landing on a rocky islet off the icebound coast. Ten days later in 64° 30′ S. D’Urville cruised westward along a high ice-barrier, which he believed to be connected with land, from longitude 131° E. and he named it the Clarie Coast. A few days later he left the Antarctic regions for the Pacific.
As early as 1836 the United States Congress had authorized an American Exploring Expedition in the programme of which Antarctic exploration had a leading place. Lieut. Charles Wilkes was appointed to command the expedition of five vessels in Wilkes.August 1838, and his instructions, dated in that month, required him amongst other things (1) to follow Weddell’s route as far as possible, (2) to visit the most southerly point reached by Cook in the Antarctic, and (3) to make an “attempt to penetrate within the Antarctic region, south of Van Diemen’s Land, and as far west as longitude 45° E., or to Enderby Land” The ships were in bad repair and ill-adapted for navigation in the ice, and many of the officers were not devoted to their chief; but in spite of great difficulties Wilkes fulfilled his programme. In following Weddell’s route Wilkes in March 1839 fared no better than D’Urville in the previous year, but the “Flying Fish” of 96 tons under Lieutenant Walker reached 70° S. in 105° W., thus nearly reaching Cook’s position of 1774. The third item of the Antarctic programme was made the subject of the most strenuous endeavour. Wilkes sailed from Sydney in the “Vincennes” on the 26th of December 1839, accompanied by the “Peacock” under Lieut. William L. Hudson, the “Porpoise” under Lieut. Cadwaladar Ringgold, and the “Flying Fish” under Lieut. Pinkney. They went south to the west of the Balleny Islands, which they did not see, and cruised westward along the ice-barrier or as near it as the ice-pack allowed towards Enderby Land nearly on the Antarctic Circle. The weather was bad with fogs, snowstorms and frequent gales, and although land was reported (by each of the vessels) at several points along the route, it was rarely seen distinctly and the officers were not agreed amongst themselves in some cases. Unfortunate controversies have arisen at intervals during sixty years as to the reality of Wilkes’s discoveries of land, and as to the justice of the claim he made to the discovery of the Antarctic continent. Some of the land claimed at the eastern end of his route has been shown by later expeditions not to exist; but there can be no doubt that Wilkes saw land along the line where Adélie Land, Kemp Land and Enderby Land are known to exist, even if the positions he assigns are not quite accurate. No one, however, could establish a claim to the discovery of a continent from sighting a discontinuous chain of high land along its coast, without making a landing. It seems no more than due to a gallant and much-persecuted officer, who did his best in most difficult circumstances, to leave the name of Wilkes Land on the map of the region he explored.
Unlike the other two expeditions, that equipped by the British government in 1839 was intended solely for Antarctic exploration and primarily for magnetic surveys in the south polar seas. There were two ships, the “Erebus” of 370 tons, and the Ross.“Terror” of 340, stoutly built craft specially strengthened for navigation in the ice. Captain James Clark Ross, R.N., was in command of the “Erebus” and of the expedition, Commander Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier of the “Terror.” A young surgeon, Joseph Dalton Hooker, joined the Royal Navy in order to go on the expedition, and he lived to take a keen interest in every subsequent Antarctic expedition down to that of Captain Scott in 1910. Ross had intended to make straight for the meridian of the Magnetic Pole, but, finding that D’Urville and Wilkes had already entered on those seas he determined to try to make a high latitude farther east, and leaving Hobart Town on the 12th of November 1840 he crossed the Antarctic Circle on the 1st of January 1841 and entered the pack ice on the 5th in 174° E. Instead of proving an impenetrable obstacle, the pack let the two ships work through in five days, and they emerged into open sea. Sailing towards the Magnetic Pole they found a chain of great mountains rising from a coast which ran due south from a prominent cape (Cape Adare) in 71° S. The continent was taken formal possession of for Queen Victoria by landing on Possession Island, the mainland being inaccessible, and the ships continued southward in sight of the coast of Victoria Land, where the loftiest mountain was named Mt Melbourne after the Prime Minister, until the twin volcanoes named Erebus and Terror were sighted in 78° S. on the 28th of January. From Cape Crozier, at the base of the mountains, a line of lofty cliffs of ice ran eastwards, the great ice-barrier, unlike any object in nature ever seen before, rising perpendicularly from the water to the height of 200 or 300 ft. and continuing unbroken for 250 m. Along the barrier the highest latitude of 78° 4′ S. was attained, and the farthest point to the east was 167° W., whence Ross turned to look for a winter harbour in Victoria Land. Being desirous to winter near the South Magnetic Pole, Ross did not explore McMurdo Bay between Mt Erebus and the north-running coast, where, as we now know, a harbour could have been found, and as he could not reach the land elsewhere on account of ice extending out from it for 15 or 16 m., after sighting the Balleny Islands at a great distance, on the 2nd of March the ships returned to Hobart. This was the most remarkable Antarctic voyage for striking discoveries ever made.
In November 1841 the “Erebus” and “Terror” returned to Antarctic waters, steering south-east from New Zealand and entering the ice-pack in about 60° S. and 146° W., the idea being to approach the great barrier from the eastward, but by the end of the year they had just struggled as far as the Antarctic Circle and they, together with the pack, were several times driven fat to the northward by heavy gales in which the ships were at the mercy of the floating ice. During a storm of terrible severity on the 18th of January the rudders of» both ships were smashed, and not until the 1st of February did they break out of the pack in 67° 29′ S., 159° W. The barrier was sighted on the 22nd and the ships reached 78° 10′ S. in 161° 27′ W., the highest latitude attained for 60 years. To the eastward the barrier surface rose to a mountainous height, but although Ross believed it to be land, he would only treat it officially as “an appearance of land,” leaving the confirmation of its discovery as King Edward Land to the next century. No more work was done in this quarter; the “Erebus” and “Terror” turned the edge of the pack to the northward and on getting into clear water sailed eastward to Cape Horn, meeting the greatest danger of the whole cruise on the way by colliding with each other at night while passing between two icebergs in a gale.
After wintering in the Falkland Islands and making good the damage received, Ross made his third and last attack on the southern ice, and for six weeks he cruised amongst the pack off Joinville Island and Louis Philippe Land trying in vain to reach the Antarctic Circle. Failing in this attempt he turned to follow Weddell’s route and skirted the pack eastward in 65° S., crossing Weddell’s track on the 14th of February 1843, more than a degree farther south than D’Urville in his attempt four years before, but on the edge of an equally impenetrable pack. Coasting it eastward to 12° W. the “Erebus” and “Terror” at last rounded the pack and found the way open to the south, crossing the circle on the 1st of March. Four days later the pack was met with again and the ships were forced into it for 27 miles to latitude 71° 30′ S in 14° 51′ W., nineteen degrees east of Weddell’s farthest south. No sign of land was seen, a deep-sea sounding showed 4000 fathoms with no bottom, and although this was a mistake, for the real depth was later proved by Dr Bruce to be only 2660 fathoms, it showed at least that there was no land in the immediate neighbourhood.
This was Ross’s last piece of Antarctic work, but the magnetic observations of his expedition were continued by Lieut. T. E. L. Moore, R.N., in the hired barque “Pagoda,” which left Simon’s Bay in January 1845 and proceeded south-east, crossing the Antarctic Circle in 30° 45′ E. and reaching a farthest south of 67° 50′, nine degrees farther east. An attempt to reach Enderby Land was frustrated by the weather, and Moore continued his voyage to Australia in a high latitude beating against contrary gales, a condition to which all previous experience pointed as likely to occur.
No further attempt at South Polar exploration was made for nearly thirty years, except a short cruise by Mr Tapsell in the “Brisk,” one of Enderby's ships which in February 1850, after passing the Balleny Islands, proceeded eastward to 143° E. at a higher latitude than Wilkes “Challenger.”without sighting land. The first steamer to cross the Antarctic Circle was H M.S. “Challenger,” on the 16th of February 1874: she only penetrated to 66° 40′ S., in 78° 30′ E., south of Kerguelen Land; but she continued her course to Australia for some distance in a high latitude, passing within 15 m. of the position assigned to Wilkes's Termination Land without seeing any sign of land. Her dredging and soundings yielded evidence as to the nature of the unknown region farther south. Sir John Murray believed that the soundings showed a general shoaling of the ocean towards the Antarctic ice, indicating the approach to a continent. By collecting and analysing all samples of deep-sea deposits which had been secured from the far south, he discovered a remarkable symmetry in the arrangement of the deposits. The globigerina ooze, or in deeper waters the red clay, carpeting the northern part of the Southern Oceans, merges on the southward into a great ring of diatom ooze, which gives place in turn, towards the ice, to a terrigenous blue mud. The fine rock particles of which the blue mud is composed are such as do not occur on oceanic islands, and the discovery of large blocks of sandstone dropped by icebergs proved the existence of sedimentary rocks within the Antarctic Circle.
During the southern summer in which the “Challenger” visited Antarctic waters, a German whale-ship, the “Grönland,” under Captain Dallmann, visited the western coast of the Antarctic land south of Tierra del Fuego, and modified the Dallmann.chart in several particulars. The chief discovery was a channel, named Bismarck Strait, in 65° S., which seemed to run between Palmer Land and Graham Land.
When the International Circumpolar observations were set on loot in 1882, two scientific stations were maintained for a year in the southern hemisphere in order to obtain data for comparison with the observations at twelve stations round the North Pole. One of these was occupied by French observers in Tierra del Fuego in 55° S., the other by German observers at Royal Bay on South Georgia in 54° 30′ S. The magnetic and meteorological observations were of considerable importance.
In 1892 four steamers of the Dundee whaling fleet—the “Balaena,” “Active,” “Diana” and “Polai Star”—went out to test Ross's statement that the “right whale” inhabited Antarctic waters. The surgeons of two of the vessels—on the “Balaena” Dr W. S. Bruce, on the “Active” Dr C. W. Donald—were selected for their scientific tastes, and equipped with all requisite instruments for observations and collecting. The result of the experiment was disappointing. No whales were obtained, and the ships devoted their attention to sealing on the east of Joinville Island and Louis Philippe Land, not going farther south than 65° S. (Geographical Journal, 1896, vii. 502–521, 625–643).
A Norwegian sealer, the “Jason,” Captain Larsen, also visited those seas in the same season, but the captain landed and collected L fossils at several points north of 65° S. In 1893–1894 the “Jason,” accompanied by two other Norwegian vessels, the “Hertha” and the Larsen.“Castor,” returned to the Antarctic and entered the ice-laden waters in November at the very beginning of summer. Captain Larsen in the “Jason” made his way as far south as 68° 10′ in 60° W. on the eastern side of Graham Land, but several miles from the coast, which was bordered by a high ice-barrier. The land beyond this barrier was named Foyn Land, after a famous Norwegian whale ship owner. Returning northwards, two small islands, Lindenberg and Christensen, were discovered and found to be active volcanoes. Meanwhile the “Hertha,” Captain Evensen, had reached the South Shetlands on the 1st of November 1893, and worked her way southward along the west side of Palmer Land and past the Biscoe Islands, reaching the Antarctic Circle on the 9th of November without meeting ice. This was the first time the Antarctic Circle had been crossed since the “Challenger” did so twenty years before. Captain Evensen sighted Alexander Land, and without experiencing any trouble from ice-Hoes he reached his farthest south, 69° 10′ S. in 76° 12′ W. (Mitteilungen der Geographischen Gesellschaft, Hamburg, 1895, pp. 245–304).
In 1894 the well-known Norwegian Whaler, Svend Foyn, sent out one of his vessels, the “Antarctic,” Captain Christensen. to try his luck off the coast of Victoria Land. The “Antarctic” sailed from Melbourne in September, having on board Carstens Egeberg Borchgrevink, young Norwegian resident in Australia, who, being determined to take part in a voyage he could join in no other way, shipped as Borchgrevink, 1894. an ordinary seaman. He made notes of the voyage, and published an account of it on his return to Europe (Report of Sixth International Geographical Congress, London, 1895, pp. 169–175). The “Antarctic” entered the pack in 62° 45′ S., 171° 30′ E., on the 8th of December 1894. The Balleny Islands were sighted on the 14th of December, and Cape Adare on Victoria Land two days later. On the 22nd of January 1895 the farthest point was reached at Coulman Island in 74° S.; the sea was then easily navigable to the south. On the 23rd of January a small party, including the captain and Mr Borchgrevink, landed on the mainland near Cape Adare, the first people to set foot on the Antarctic continent.
Efforts had been made from time to time, by Professor Georg von Neumayer in Germany and by Sir John Murray and others in Great Britain, to induce learned societies to inaugurate a new era of scientific Antarctic research under Government or at least Gerlache; “Belgica.”under national auspices. In 1895 Sir Clements Markham, as president of the Royal Geographical Society and of the International Geographical Congress, also took the matter up, and interest in the Antarctic regions began to be aroused in every civilized country. Captain Adrien de Gerlache organized and led a Belgian expedition, for which he raised the funds with difficulty. M. Georges Lecointe, captain of the “Belgica,” and Lieut. Danco, magnetic observer, were Belgians; Mr Roald Amundsen, the mate, a Norwegian; M. Argtowski, the geologist and physicist, a Pole; M. Racovitza, the biologist, a Rumanian; and Dr F. A. Cook, the surgeon, an American. On the 14th of January 1898, already long past midsummer, the “Belgica,” left Staten Island for Antarctic waters. She sighted the South Shetlands on the 21st and proceeded to Hughes Gulf, from which a channel, Gerlache Strait, was explored leading south-westward between continuous land, named Danco Land, on the east (the northern extension of Graham Land), and Palmer Land on the west. Palmer Land was found to be a group of large islands. On the 12th of February the “Belgica” reentered the open sea to the west at Cape Tuxen in 65° 15′ S. Much fog was experienced, but on the 16th Alexander Land was sighted in the distance. Continuing on a westerly course, the “Belgica” made every effort to enter the pack, which was successfully accomplished after a heavy storm on the 28th. By taking advantage of the leads, the expedition advanced to 71° 30′ S. in 85° 15′ W. by the 2nd of March, but the ship was blocked next day by the growth of young ice soldering the pack into one continuous mass. For more than a year further independent movement was impossible; but the ship drifted with the ice between the limits of 80° 30′ W. and 102° 10′ W., and of 69° 40′ and 71° 35′ S., which was the highest latitude attained (May 31, 1898). The sun did not rise for seventy days, and all on board suffered severely from depression of spirits and disorders of the circulation, which Dr Cook attributed to the darkness and to improper food. Lieut. Danco died during the period of darkness. On the 13th of March 1899, when a. second winter in the ice began to seem probable, the “Belgica” was released in 69° 50′ S. and 102° 10′ W. The geographical results of this expedition were insignificant so far as the discovery of land or penetration to a high latitude is concerned. The ship passed several times to the south and west of Peter I. Island, proving that the land seen by Bellingshausen at that point is of very limited extent. During the drift in the ice the soundings were usually between 200 and 300 fathoms, which, compared with the great depths to the north, clearly indicated a continental shelf of considerable breadth, probably connected with land in the south. The scientific collections were of unique value and have been worked up and the results published at the expense of the Belgian government.
The Hamburg America Company’s steamer “Valdivia,” chartered by the German Government for a scientific voyage under the leadership of Professor Carl Chun of Leipzig, with Dr Gerhard Schott as oceanographer, left Cape Town on the 13th of November 1898, and on the 25th was “Valdivia.” fortunate in rediscovering Bouvet Island (54° 26′ S., 3° 24′ E.), which had been searched for in vain by Cook, Ross, Moore and many other sailors. Steering south, the “Valdivia,” although an unprotected steel vessel, followed the edge of the pack from 8° E. to 58° E., reaching 64° 15′ S. in 54° 20′ E. on the 16th of December. At this point a depth of 2541 fathoms was found, so that if Enderby Land occupies its assigned position, 102 nautical miles farther south, the sub-oceanic slope must be of quite unusual steepness. The rocks dredged up contained specimens of gneiss, granite and schist, and one great block of red sandstone weighing 5 cwt. was secured, confirming the theory of the continental nature of the land to the south.
On his return to England in 1895 Mr Borchgrevink made strenuous efforts to organize an Antarctic expedition under his own leadership, and in August 1898 he left the Thames on the “Southern Cross,” in charge of a private expedition equipped by Sir George Newues.Borchgrevink, 1898. His scientific staff included Lieut. Colbeck, R.N.R.; Mr Louis Bernacchi, a trained magnetic observer, and Mr N. Hanson, biologist. About fifty dogs were taken out, the intention being to land at Cape Adare and advance towards the magnetic, and perhaps also towards the geographical pole by sledge. The “Southern Cross” sighted one of the Balleny Islands on the 14th of January 1899, and after in vain attempting to get south about the meridian of 164° E., the ship forced her way eastward and emerged from the pack (after having been beset for forty-eight days) in 70° S, 174° E. She reached Cape Adare, and anchored in Robertson Bay on the 17th of February. The land party, consisting of ten men, was established in a house built on the strip of beach at the base of the steep ascent to the mountains, and the ship left on the 2nd of March. Mr Borchgrevink found it impossible to make any land journey of importance and the party spent the first year ever passed by man on Antarctic land in making natural history collections and keeping up meteorological and magnetic observations. The “Southern Cross” returned to Cape Adare on the 28th of January 1900, and after taking the winter party on board-diminished by the death of Mr Hanson-set out for the south on the 2nd of February. Landings were made on several islands, on the mainland at the base of Mt Melbourne, and on the 10th of February at the base of Mt Terror, near Cape Crozier. From this point the ship steamed eastward along the great ice-barrier to a point in 164° 10′ W., where an inlet in the ice was found and the ship reached her highest latitude, 78° 34′ S., on the 17th of February. The edge of the ice was found to be about 30 m. farther south than it had been when Ross visited it in 1842. Mr Borchgrevink was able to land on the ice with sledges and dogs, and advanced southward about 16 m., reaching 78° 50′ S. He discovered that plant life existed in the shape of mosses and lichens in some of the rocky islands, a fact not previously known.
In the autumn of 1901 three well-equipped expeditions left Europe for Antarctic exploration. The British National Antarctic expedition was organized by a joint committee of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society, and equipped under the superintendence of Sir Clements Markham. Most of the cost was borne by the government, the rest mainly by Mr L. W. Longstaff, who provided £30,000, the Royal Geographical Society, and Mr A. C. Harmsworth (afterwards Lord Northcliffe). A strong wooden ship of about 700 tons register (1700 tons displacement) was built at Dundee, and named the “Discovery.” She was made entirely non-magnetic amidships, so that magnetic observations might be carried on without interference from local attraction. The expedition sailed underScott, “Discovery.” the command of Commander R. F. Scott, R.N., with Lieut. Albert Armitage, R.N.R., as second in command, Lieuts. Royds and Barne, R.N., Lieut. Shackleton, R.N.R., and Engineer-Lieut. Skelton, R.N. The crew of forty men were almost entirely sailors of the Royal Navy. The scientific staff included Dr Koettlitz, who had shared with Mr Armitage in the Jackson-Harmsworth arctic expedition; Mr Louis Bernacchi, who had wintered with Mr Borchgrevink at Cape Adare; Dr E. A. Wilson, Mr Hodgson, biologist, and Mr Ferrar, geologist. The “Discovery” sailed from New Zealand on the 24th of December 1901, met the pack ice on the Antarctic circle and was through into the open sea in 175° E. on the 8th of January 1902. She made a quick run to Cape Crozier and cruised along the great ice barrier, confirming Borchgrevink’s discovery that it lay 30 m. farther south than in 1842, and at the eastern end of the barrier Scott discovered and named King Edward Land where Ross had recorded an “appearance” only. The sea in the neighbourhood had shoaled to less than 100 fathoms and the ice-barrier in places was so low that the “Discovery” was able to lie alongside as at a quay. A captive balloon ascent was made from the barrier but nothing was seen to the south. Returning to McMurdo Bay the “Discovery” found that Mts Erebus and Terror were on an island, the “bay” being really a sound. The ship was secured in winter quarters in 77° 49′ S. 166° E., and a hut erected on shore. From this base land-exploration in the Antarctic was initiated, and the history of exploration entered on a new phase. Although some symptoms of scurvy appeared during the winter they were checked by change of diet, and with the beginning of spring sledge journeys with dogs were commenced and a quantity of provisions was laid down in depots to assist the great journey which Scott had planned to the south. On the 2nd of November 1902 Captain Scott, with Lieut. E. H. Shackleton and Dr E. A. Wilson, set out with dog-sledges travelling south over the surface of the barrier in sight of a range of new mountains running parallel to their track on the west. The conditions of travelling were unlike those in the Arctic region, the weather being more inclement and the summer temperature much lower than in similar latitudes in the north. There were no bears to menace the safety of the travellers, and no wolves or foxes to plunder the depots; but on the other hand there was no game of any sort to be met with, and all food for men and dogs had to be carried on the sledges. The surface of the ice was often rough and much crevasses, especially near the western land, snow blizzards frequently occurred making travelling impossible and the heavy sledges had at first to be brought forward by relays, making it necessary to march three miles for every mile of southing made. The dogs also weakened and had to be killed one by one to feed the rest. On the 30th of December they were in 82° 17′ S. and Scott determined to try to reach the mountains to the west; but on approaching the land he found the ice so much crevasses and disturbed that the attempt had to be given up. Great peaks in 83° S. were named Mt Markham (15,100 ft) and Mt Longstaff (9700 ft.) after the chief promoters of the expedition. The outward journey of 380 m. had taken 59 days, and was a splendid achievement, for the conditions to be encountered were totally unknown, and new methods had to be devised as the necessity arose, yet no previous polar explorer had ever advanced so far beyond his predecessor as Scott did. The return journey occupied 34 days and the ship was reached on the 3rd of February 1903, but Shackleton had broken down on the way and he had to return by the relief ship “Morning” on the 3rd of March, Lieut. Mulock, R.N., taking his place on the “Discovery.” During the absence of the commander in the great southern journey Armitage and Skelton had found a way to ascend by a glacier in 78° S. to the summit of the vast snow-covered plateau beyond the granite summits of the western mountains. They reached a distance of 130 m. from the ship and an elevation of 9000 ft. Many shorter journeys were made; Ferrar studied the geology of the mountains and Hodgson was indefatigable in collecting marine fauna, while Bernacchi kept up the physical and meteorological observations. The second winter was lightened by the use of acetylene gas for the first time, and the dark months were passed in better spirits and better health than in the case of any previous polar wintering. In the spring of 1903–1904 Scott undertook a great journey on the western plateau, starting on the 26th of October without dogs. By the 30th of November he had reached a point on the featureless plateau of dead-level snow, 300 m. due west from the ship, the position being 77° 59′ S., 146° 33′ E. and 9000 ft. above sea-level. The ship was reached again on the 25th of December, and on the 5th of January the “Morning” arrived accompanied by a larger vessel, the “Terra Nova,” sent out by the Admiralty with orders to Captain Scott to abandon the “Discovery” and return at once. Fortunately, although all the stores and collections had been transferred to the relief ships, the “Discovery” broke out of the ice on the 16th of February 1904 and Captain Scott had the satisfaction of bringing her home in perfect order. The relief ships had provided so little coal that a most promising voyage to the westward of the Balleny Islands had to be abandoned in 155° E.; but it showed that the land charted by Wilkes east of that meridian did not exist in the latitude assigned.
Simultaneously with the “Discovery” expedition and in full co-operation with it as regards simultaneous meteorological and magnetic observations, the German government equipped an expedition in the “Gauss” which was specially built for the occasion.Drygalski; “Gauss.” The expedition was under the charge of Professor Erich von Drygalski and the scientific staff included Professor Vanhoffen as naturalist, Dr Emil Philippi as geologist and Dr Friedrich Bidlingmaier as meteorologist and magnetician. The ship was under the command of Captain Hans Ruser of the Hamburg-American line. A supplementary expedition set up a station for simultaneous observations on Kerguelen Land The “Gauss” crossed the parallel of 60° S. in 92° E. early in February 1902 and got within 60 m. of the charted position of Wilkes’s Termination Land, where a depth of 1730 fathoms was found with no sign of land. The pack made it necessary to turn south-westward and land was seen to the eastward on February 1902 on the Antarctic Circle in the direction of Termination Land. Soon afterwards the “Gauss” was beset and spent the winter in the ice. Land of considerable extent was seen to the south and was named Kaiser Wilhelm II. Land; the most conspicuous feature on it was a hill of bare black rock with an elevation of about 1000 ft, which was called the Gaussberg, and was situated in 67° S., 90° E. This was the only bare land seen, and its neighbourhood was thoroughly investigated by sledge parties, but no distant journey was undertaken. In February 1903 the “Gauss” was freed from the ice; but although Drygalski struggled for two months to thread the maze of floes to the eastward and south he could gain no higher latitude and was able to force his way only to 80° E. before seeking the open sea. The scientific observations and collections were most extensive and of great value.
Two private expeditions organized by men of science were in the Antarctic region simultaneously with the British and German national expeditions, and the synchronous meteorological and magnetic observations added to the value of the scientific Nordensk-jöld.results of all the parties. Dr. Otto Nordenskjöld, nephew of the discoverer of the North-East Passage, led a Swedish party in the “Antarctic,” with Captain C. A. Larsen in command of the ship, and reached the South Shetlands in January 1902, afterwards exploring on the east side of Joinville Island and Louis Philippe Land, and wintering on shore on Snow Hill Island in 64° 25′ S. From this point a long journey on ski over the flat sea ice bordering King Oscar Land was made to the south, but the Antarctic Circle was not reached. Meanwhile the “Antarctic” had succeeded in penetrating the pack in the Weddell Sea almost to the circle in 50° W., where D’Urville and Ross had failed to get so far south. A second winter was spent at the base on Snow Hill Island, and, the ship having been lost in the ice on her way to take them off, the party was rescued by a brilliant dash of the Argentine gunboat “Uruguay,” under Captain Irizar, before the relief ship sent from Sweden arrived.
Meanwhile Dr W. S. Bruce, largely aided financially by Mr James Coats and Captain Andrew Coats, equipped a Scottish expedition in the “Scotia,” with Captain Thomas Robertson in command of the ship, and a scientific staff including Bruce.Mr R. C. Mossman as meteorologist, Mr R. N. Rudmose Brown as naturalist, and Dr J. H. H. Pirie as geologist. The principal object of the expedition was the exploration of the Weddell Sea. The “Scotia” sighted the South Orkneys on the 3rd of February 1903, and after a short struggle with the pack she found an open sea to 70° 25′ S., where she was beset on the 22nd in 18° W., and whence she returned by a more westerly course, re-crossing the Antarctic Circle in 40° W. This important voyage midway between the tracks of Weddell and Ross, who alone of all who tried had reached 70° S. in this region, practically demonstrated the navigability of Weddell Sea in favourable conditions, and the oceanographical observations made were the most valuable yet carried out in the Antarctic region. The following year, starting from the Sandwich group, Bruce crossed the Antarctic Circle about 22° W., and was able to make a straight run south to 74° 1′ S., where the “Scotia” was stopped by the ice in 159 fathoms of water, the sea having shoaled rapidly from a great depth. From the 3rd of March to the 13th the “Scotia” remained in shallow water, catching occasional glimpses of a great ice wall with snow covered heights beyond it, along a line of 150 m., and dredging quantities of continental rocks. On this evidence the name Coats Land was given to the land within the barrier. The “Scotia” crossed the Antarctic Circle northward in 11° W., having in the two years explored a totally unknown sea for a distance of thirty degrees of longitude. A meteorological station was established by Mr Mossman on Laurie Island, in the South Orkneys (61° S.) in March 1903, and kept up by him for two years, when it was taken over by the Argentine government, and it now has the distinction of being the most southerly station at which continuous observations have ever been taken for over five years.
In January 1904 Dr Jean B. Charcot, a man of science and an accomplished yachtsman, left the Fuegian archipelago for the Antarctic in the “Français,” in command of a French exploring expedition equipped at his own instance. He cruised through the islands of the Palmer Archipelago, and wintered in a cove of Wandel Island 65° 5′ S. near the southern entrance of Gerlache Strait. On the 25th of December 1904 the “Français” was free, and continued to cruise southward along the coast of Graham Land, to the south of which, on the 15th of January, when nearly in latitude 67°, a new coast appeared, mountainous and stretching to the south-west, but Charcot could not determine whether it was joined to Graham Land or to Alexander Land. While approaching the land the “Français” struck a rock, and was so much damaged that further exploration was impossible, and after naming the new discovery Loubet Land, the expedition returned. Charcot organized a second expedition in 1908 on board the “Pourquoi Pas?” and, leaving Punta Arenas in December, returned to the Palmer Archipelago, and during January 1909 made a detailed examination of the coast to the southward, finding that Loubet Land Was practically continuous on the north with Graham Land and on the south with Alexander Land, which was approached within a mile at one point. Adelaide Island, reported by Biscoe as 8 m. long, was found to be a large island 70 m. in length, consisting of a series of summits rising out of an icefield. The Biscoe Islands were found to be much more numerous than was formerly supposed. The expedition wintered at Petermann Island in 65° 10′ S., and attempts were made to reach the interior of Graham Land, though with little success. After coaling from the whalers’ dépôt at Deception Island. the "Pourquoi Pas?” sailed on the 6th of January 1910 to the south-west, and reached 70° S. on the 11th, whence views of Alexander Land were obtained from a new position, and a new land discovered farther to the south-west. The highest latitude reached was about 70° 30′ S., and Charcot was able to steam westward nearly along this parallel crossing the region of the “Belgica’s” drift, passing close to Peter I. Island across the meridian of Cook’s highest latitude, where the ice seemed to promise an easy way south if coal had permitted, and on to 128° W. through an absolutely unknown sea, from which point a direct course was made for Punta Arenas. Frequent soundings and dredging were made, and Dr Charcot satisfied himself from all the appearances that along the 20 degrees of longitude west of Gerlache’s farthest, and more than half-way from Graham Land to King Edward Land, land was probably not far distant to the south.
After his return invalided from the “Discovery,” Lieut. Shackleton planned a fresh expedition, which he equipped at his own expense, aided by his personal friends, and he started in the small whaler “Nimrod” from Lyttelton, New Zealand, on the 1st of January 1908, being towed by a steamer to the Antarctic Circle, in order to saveShackleton coal The plan was to land a shore party on King Edward Land and return to take them off in the following year, but although a strenuous effort was made to reach the land the floe ice was too heavy, and it would have been madness to establish winter-quarters on the barrier, the coast-line of which had altered greatly since 1902, and was obviously liable to break off in great ice-islands. On the 26th of January the “Nimrod” began to return from the extreme east of the barrier, and the landing of stores commenced on the 3rd of February at Cape Royds, at the base of Mt Erebus, 20 m. north of the “Discovery’s” winter-quarters. The shore party included the leader and fifteen companions, amongst them Professor T. W. Edgeworth David, of Sydney University; Lieut. Jameson Boyd Adams, R.N.R.; Sir Philip Brocklehurst, Bart.; Mr James Murray, biologist; Mr Raymond E. Priestley, geologist; Dr Alistair Forbes Mackay; Dr Eric Marshall; Mr Douglas Mawson, geologist, and Ernest Joyce and Frank Wild of the Royal Navy, who had taken part in the “Discovery” expedition. No casualty occurred during the whole duration of the expedition, special care having been taken to supply the best provisions, including fresh bread baked daily and dried milk in unlimited quantity, while abundant artificial light was secured by the use of acetylene gas. A motor-car was taken in the hope that it might be used on the barrier surface, but this was found impracticable, although it did good work in laying depots on the sea-ice. Another and more successful experiment in traction was the use of Manchurian ponies. Eight of these extraordinarily hardy creatures were taken south in the “Nimrod,” but four died in the first month after landing. The others did good service. Nine dogs were also taken, but the experience on the “Discovery” expedition did not lead to much dependence being placed on them. The “Nimrod” left for the north on the 22nd of February and the scientific staff at once began the observations and collections which were kept up to the end. The discovery of a considerable fresh-water fauna and of a poor but characteristic flora was one of the most unexpected results. Apart from many minor excursions and surveys, the expedition performed three journeys of the first importance, each of them surpassing any previous land work in the Antarctic regions. Before winter set in, Professor David, with live companions, made the ascent of Mt Erebus, starting from the winter quarters on the 5th of March, and gaining the summit at an altitude of 13,300 ft. on the 10th; this was found to be the edge of an active crater, the abyss within being 900 ft. deep, though rarely visible on account of the steam and vapours which rose in a huge cloud 1000 ft. above the summit.
The second achievement was the attainment of the South Magnetic Pole by Professor David, with Mr Douglas Mawson and Dr Mackay. They left win ten quarters on the 6th of October 1908, dragging two sledges over the sea-ice. Proceeding along the coast they were able to supplement their provisions and fuel by seal-meat and blubber, and on the first of December they reached the Drygalski ice barrier in 75° S., which proved very difficult to cross. Leaving this ice-tongue on the 19th, they proceeded to ascend the plateau with one sledge, and ran great risks from the crevasses into which they were constantly falling. On reaching the summit of the plateau travelling became easier, and on the 16th of January 1909 the magnetic dip was 900, and the position of the magnetic pole was determined as 72° 25′, S., 155° 16′ E., at an altitude of 7260 ft. and 260 m. from the depot of provisions left at the Drygalski glacier. The return journey to this point was accomplished by forced marches on the 3rd of February, and next day the party was picked up by the “Nimrod,” which was scouting for them along the coast.
The third and greatest achievement of this remarkable expedition was Shackleton’s great southern journey. Depots had been laid out in advance on the barrier ice, and the main southern party, consisting of Messrs Shackleton, Adams, Marshall and Wild, started from winter-quarters on the 29th of October 1908, with the four ponies and four 11-ft. sledges; a supporting party of five men accompanied the main division for ten days. In order to avoid the disturbed and crevasses ice near the great south-running mountain range, Shackleton kept about 40 m. farther to the east than Scott had done. The ponies enabled rapid progress to be made, but after passing the 81st parallel on the 21st of November, one pony broke down and had to be shot, the meat being left in a depot for the return journey. In spite of cold weather and frequent high winds, progress was made at the rate of 15 m. per day, and on the 26th of November the farthest south of the “Discovery” expedition was passed, and Mts Markham and Longstaff were full in view. New mountains continued to appear beyond these, and the range changed its southerly to a south-easterly trend, so that the path to the Pole led through the mountains. On the 28th a second pony became used up and was shot, and a depot was formed with provisions and stores for the return in 82° 38′ S., and progress was resumed with two sledges. The surface of the barrier ice formed great undulations of gentle slope. On the first of December a third pony had to be shot, in 83° 16′ S., and horseflesh became the principal article of diet; the remaining pony hauled one sledge, the four men took the other. On the 4th of December the party left the barrier, passing over a zone of much disturbed ice, and commenced the ascent of a great glacier (the Beardmore glacier) which descended from the mountains between magnificent granite cliffs 2000 ft. high. On the 7th, when toiling amongst a maze of crevasses on the glacier, 2000 ft. above sea-level, the last pony fell into a crevasse and was lost, though the loaded sledge was saved; the pony was to have been shot that night as it could not work on the disturbed ice; but its loss meant so much less food, and as far as can be judged this alone made it impossible for the party to reach the Pole. For the next few days of laborious advance one or other of the party was continually falling into a crevasse, but the sledge harness saved them, and no serious harm resulted. After climbing upwards for 100 m. on the glacier, a depot was made at a height of 6100 ft. of everything that could Possibly be left behind, including all the warm clothing, for it was found possible with Jaegers and wind-proof Burberrys to meet any weather in which exertion was possible. By Christmas Day the plateau surface was fairly reached at a level of 9500 ft., in latitude 85° 55′ S., and there was no more difficulty to overcome as regarded the ground, but merely the effort of going on over a nearly level surface with insufficient food in a very low temperature, intensified by frequent blizzards. Rations were reduced in the hope of being able to push on to the Pole. Three days later the last crevasse was passed and the surface, now 12,200 ft. above sea-level, grew smoother, allowing 15 m. a day to be done with fair weather. At 4 a.m. on the 9th of January 1909 the four explorers left their sledge and racing, half walking, half running, they reached 88° 23′ S. in 162° E at 9 a.m., the height above sea being 11,600 ft. The utmost had been done, though more food would have enabled the remaining 97 geographical miles to the South Pole to be accomplished. The camp was reached again at 3 p.m. The return journey of over 700 m. to the ship was one long nightmare of toil and suffering, but the length of the marches was unsurpassed in polar travel. Once and again all food was exhausted the day before the depot, on which the only hope of life depended, was picked up in the waste of snow Snow-blindness and dysentery made life almost unendurable, but, despite it all, the ship was reached on the 1st of March, and the geological specimens from the southernmost mountains, which prevented the sledges of the exhausted men being lightened as they went on, were safely secured. Never in the history of polar exploration had any traveller outdistanced his predecessor by so vast a step towards either Pole.
During the return journey of the “Nimrod” Shackleton was able to do a little piece of exploration to the south of the Balleny Islands, tracing the coast of the mainland for 50 m. to the south-west beyond Cape North, thus indicating that the Antarctic continent has not a straight coast-line running from Cape Adare to Wilkes Land. The British government contributed £20,000 to the expenses of the expedition in recognition of the great results obtained, and the king conferred a knighthood on the explorer, the first given for Antarctic exploration since the time of Sir James Clark Ross.
Captain R. F. Scott left England in the summer of 1910 with a new expedition in the “Terra Nova,” promoted by his own exertions, aided by a government grant, and with a carefully selected crew and a highly competent scientific staff. He intended Expeditions of 1910–1911.to arrange for two parties, one leaving King Edward Land, the other McMurdo Sound, to converge on the South Pole. A German expedition under Lieut. Wilhelm Filchner was announced to leave early in 1911 with the hope of exploring inland from a base in the western part of Weddell Sea, and Dr W. S. Bruce has announced for the same year an expedition to the eastern part of Weddell Sea mainly for oceanographical exploration. It appears that the greatest extension of knowledge would now be obtained by a resolute attempt to cruise round the south polar area from east to west in the highest latitude which can be reached. This has never been attempted, and a modern Biscoe with steam power could not fail to make important discoveries on a westward circumnavigation.
Physiography of Antarctic Region.—In contrast to the Arctic region, the Antarctic is essentially a land area. It is almost certain that the South Pole lies on a great plateau, part of a land that must be larger and loftier than Greenland, and may probably be as large as Australia. This land area may be composed of two main masses, or of one continent and a great archipelago, but it can no longer be doubted that the whole is of continental character as regards its rocks, and that it is permanently massed into one surface with ice and snow, which in some parts at least unites lands separated by hundreds of miles of sea But all round the land-mass there is a ring of deep ocean cutting off the Antarctic region from all other land of the earth and setting it apart as a region by itself, more unlike the rest of the world than any continent or island. The expedition of the “Scotia” showed the great depth of the Weddell Sea area, and the attention paid to soundings on other expeditions—notably that of the “Belgica”—has defined the beginning of a continental shelf which it cannot be doubted slopes up to land not yet sighted In the Arctic region large areas within the Polar Circle belong to climatically temperate Europe, and to habitable lands of Asia and America; but in the Antarctic region extensive lands—Graham Land, Louis Philippe Land, Joinville Island and the Palmer archipelago outside the Polar Circle—partake of the typically polar character of the higher latitudes, and even the islands on the warmer side of the sixtieth parallel are of a sub-Antarctic nature, akin rather to lands of the frigid than to those of the temperate zone.
Geology.—Definite information as to the geology of Antarctic land is available from three areas—Graham Land and the archipelago to the north of it, Kaiser Wilhelm Land and Victoria Land. In the Graham Land region there seems to be a fundamental rock closely resembling the Archaean. Palaeozoic rocks have not been discovered so far in this region, although a graptolite fossil, probably of Ordovician age, shows that they occur in the South Orkneys. Mesozoic rocks have been found in various parts of the archipelago, a very rich Jurassic fossil flora of ferns, conifers and cycads having been studied by Nordenskjold, some of the genera found being represented also in the rocks of South America, South Africa, India and Australia. Cretaceous ammonites have also been found, and Tertiary fossils, both of land and of marine forms, bring the geological record down probably to Miocene times, the fauna including five genera of extinct penguins. Raised beaches show an emergence of the land in Quaternary times, and there is evidence of a recent glacial period when the inland ice on Graham Land was a thousand feet higher than it is now. The most prominent features of the scenery are due to eruptive rocks, which have been identified as belonging to the eruptive system of the Andes, suggesting a geologically recent connection between South America and the Antarctic lands. Volcanic activity is not yet extinct in the region.
As regards Kaiser Wilhelm Land, the Gaussberg is a volcanic cone mainly composed of leucite-basalt, but its slopes are strewn with erratics presumably transported from the south and these include gneiss, mica-schist and quartzite, apparently Archaean.
Much more is known as to the geology of Victoria Land, and the results are well summarized by Professor David and Mr Priestley of Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition, whom we follow. From Cape North (71° S.) to 86° S. a grand mountain range runs south curving to south-eastward, where it vanishes into the unknown; it is built up of gneiss and granite, and of horizontal beds of sandstone and limestone capped with eruptive rock, the peaks rising to heights of 8000, 10,000 and even 15,000 feet, the total length of the range so far as known being at least 1100 miles. This range rises abruptly from the sea, or from the ice of the Great Barrier, and forms a slightly higher edge to a vast snow plateau which has been traversed for several hundred miles in various directions, and may for aught we know extend farther for a thousand miles or more. The accumulated snows of this plateau discharge by the hugest glaciers in the world down the valleys between the mountains. About 78° S. a group of volcanic islands, of which Ross Island, with the active Mt Erebus is the largest, rise from the sea in front of the range, and at the northern extremity the volcanic peaks of the Balleny Islands match them in height. The composition of the volcanic rocks is similar to that of the volcanic rocks of the southern part of New Zealand. The oldest rocks of Victoria Land are apparently banded gneiss and gneissic granite, which may be taken as Archaean. Older Palaeozoic rocks are represented by greenish grey slates from the sides of the Beardmore glacier and by radiolarian cherts; but the most widespread of the sedimentary rocks occurring in vast beds in the mountain faces is that named by Ferrar the Beacon sandstones, which in the far south Shackleton found to be banded with seams of shale and coal amongst which a fossil occurred which has been identified as coniferous wood and suggests that the place of the formation is Lower Carboniferous or perhaps Upper Devonian. No Mesozoic strata have been discovered, but deposits of peat derived from fungi and moss are now being accumulated in the fresh-water lakes of Ross Island, and raised beaches show a recent change of level. The coast-line appears to be of the Atlantic, not the Pacific type, and may owe its position and trend to a great fault, or series of faults, in the line of which the range of volcanoes, Mt Melbourne, Mt Erebus, and Mt Discovery, stand. Boulders of gneiss, quartzite and sandstone have been dredged at so many points between the Balleny Islands and the Weddell Sea that there can be no doubt of the existence of similar continental land along the whole of that side, at least within the Antarctic Circle.
Antarctic Ice-Conditions.—It is difficult to decide whether the ice of the polar regions should be dealt with as a geological formation or a meteorological phenomenon; but in the Antarctic the ice is so characteristic a feature that it may well be considered by itself. So far as can be judged, the total annual precipitation in the Antarctic region is very slight, probably not more than the equivalent of 10 in. of rain, and perhaps less. It was formerly supposed that the immense accumulation of snow near the South Pole produced an ice-cap several miles in thickness which, creeping outward all round, terminated in the sea in vast ice-cliffs, such as those of Ross’s Great Barrier, whence the huge flat-topped ice-islands broke off and floated away. Evidence, both in the Graham Land and in the Victoria Land areas, points to a former much greater extent of the ice-cap. Thus Shackleton found that the summit of Mt Hope, in 83° 50′ S., which stands 2000 feet above the ice of the surrounding glaciers, was strewn with erratics which must have been transported by ice from the higher mountains to the south and west. In McMurdo Sound, as in Graham Land, evidence was found that the surface of the ice-sheet was once at least a thousand feet above its present level. These facts appear to indicate a period of greater snowfall in the geologically recent past—i.e. a period of more genial climate allowing the air to carry more water vapour to the southern mountains. Whatever may have been the case in the past the Antarctic glaciers are now greatly shrunken and many of them no longer reach the sea. Others project into the sea a tongue of hard ice, which in the case of the Drygalski glacier tongue is 30 m. long, and afloat probably for a considerable distance. Some of these glacier tongues of smaller size appear now to be cut off at their shoreward end from the parent glacier. At one time the Victoria Land glacier tongues may have been confluent, forming a great ice barrier along the coast similar to the small ice-barriers which clothe the lower slopes of some of the islands in Gerlache Strait. The Great Ice Barrier is in many ways different from these. Captain Scott showed that it was afloat for at least 400 m. of its extent from west to east. Sir Ernest Shackleton followed it for 400 m. from north to south, finding its surface in part thrown into long gentle undulations, but with no evidence of the surface being otherwise than level on the average. The all-but forgotten experiments and cogitations of Biscoe convinced that shrewd observer that all Antarctic icebergs were sea-ice thickened with snow “accumulated with time.” The recent expeditions seem to confirm this view to a great extent in the case of the Barrier, which, so far as the scientific men on the “Nimrod” could see, was formed everywhere of compressed nevé, not of true glacier ice. Instances have been seen of tabular bergs floating with half their bulk above water, showing that they are of very much less density than solid ice. The thrust of the glaciers which descend from the western mountains upon the Barrier throws it into sharp crevasses folds near the point of contact, the disturbance extending 20 m. from the tip of the Beardmore glacier, and the seaward creep of the whole surface of the Barrier is possibly due to this impulse, the rate of movement at the eastern side of the Barrier was found to be at the rate of 500 yds. per annum for the seven years between Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions.
Pack ice composed of broken-up sea-ice and fragments of icebergs appears to form a floating breakwater round the Antarctic area. It is penetrated by powerful steamers with ease or with difficulty according to the action of the wind which loosens the pack when it drives it towards the open sea, and closes it up when it drives it against a coast or a barrier of fast ice. At every point but one around the circumpolar area the pack, be it light or dense, appears to extend up to the southern permanent ice or land, though, as in the Weddell Sea, the pack seems at times to be driven bodily away. The exceptional region is the opening of the Ross Sea east of Cape Adare, where a comparatively narrow band of pack ice has always been penetrated by the resolute advance even of sailing ships and led to an extensive open sea to the south. No doubt the set of the ocean currents accounts for this, but how they act is still obscure. The great flat-topped ice-islands which in some years drift out from the Antarctic area in great numbers are usually met with in all parts of the Southern Ocean south of 50° S., and worn-down icebergs have been sighted in the Atlantic even as far north as 26° 30′ S. The greater frequency of icebergs in the Southern Ocean in some years is attributed to earthquakes in the Antarctic breaking off masses of the floating edge of the Barrier.
Antarctic Climate.—Although a vast mass of observations has recently been accumulated, it is not yet possible to treat of the climate of the South Polar region in the same broad way as in the case of the North Polar region. The following table shows the mean temperatures of each month and of the year at all the stations at which the Antarctic winter has been passed. The result is to show that while the winter is on the whole less severe at high latitudes than at equal latitudes in the north, the summer is very much colder, and has little relation to latitude. Even in the South Orkneys, in latitude 60°, in the three warmest months the air scarcely rises above the freezing point as an average, while in Shetland (60° N.) the temperature of the three summer months averages 54° F. But on the other hand, the warmest month of the year even in 77° S. has had a mean temperature as high as 30°. A study of the figures quoted in the accompanying table shows that until longer records
ca. 70° S.
64° 30′ S.
65° 2′ S.
77° 51′ S.
77° 32′ S.
60 44′ S.
65° 10′ S.
|Mar.||+15·6||+17·7||+14·1||+11·0||+16·9||+ 8·0||− 0·8||+ 4·9||(+30·2)||+3 2·4||+29·8||+33·7|
|Apr.||+10·8||+10·3||+ 6·3||+ 6·7||+ 3·9||− 7·1||−16·9||−10·9||+20·6||+25·1||+22·6||+23·0|
|May||+20·3||− 4·6||+ 1·7||− 1·6||+ 6·8||−12·5||−16·0||− 5·5||+17·1||+10·5||+13·3||+22·7|
|June||+ 4·1||−11·8||− 0·4||− 6·8||+ 0·5||−16·0||−13·8||− 7·1||+ 9·5||+16·8||+11·8||+20·3|
|July||−10·3||− 8·6||−11·9||− 0·2||− 0·6||− 8·1||−21·1||−17·0||+16·9||+ 7·0||− 2·6||+19·7|
|Aug.||+11·7||−13·4||− 9·7||+ 3·8||− 7·4||−16·5||−16·5||−15·7||+18·8||+12·7||+20·5||+21·8|
|Sep.||− 1·3||−11·9||+ 5·3||+ 0·3||+ 0·1||−12·0||−18·6||− 5·7||+13·4||+20·5||+25·7||+21·4|
|Oct.||+17·8||− 1·8||+ 8·9||+19·0||+ 8·6||− 8·5||− 6·8||+ 4·5||+27·0||+18·4||+18·7||+27·7|
|Year||+14·7||+ 7·0||+ 9·4||+11·3||+ 0·4||− 3·0||+ 3·4||+22·9||+22·4||+22·2||(+26·9)|
| Feb. 19|
normal distribution of monthly temperature throughout the year, for even at the same station in consecutive years the months vary greatly Thus at Snow Hill (65° S.) the mean temperature of August 1903 was 13·5° higher than that of August 1902, though June had been 7° colder, and at the “Discovery’s” winter quarters July 1903 was 13° colder than July 1902 though June was 2° warmer, August having exactly the same mean temperature in each year. The mean temperature of the year is evidently higher in the position of the “Belgica’s” drift than in Victoria Land at the same latitude; but it is noticeable that on the west side of Graham Land, where Charcot wintered, the average mean temperature was (taking the average of his two wintering) 15° higher than on the east side, where Noidenskjold wintered in nearly the same latitude. The observations, however, were not synchronous, and it may not be right to compare them. We may perhaps say that along the whole of the known Antarctic coasts the temperature in the two midsummer months is within a degree or two of 32° F., and varies little from place to place or from year to year; but in the winter months the temperature is lower as the latitude increases and is subject to great variations from place to place and from year to year. It seems quite possible that at no place in the Antarctic region do the mean monthly sea-level winter temperatures fall so low as in the Arctic poles of cold, but data regarding winter temperatures in the interior are lacking. All the complete yearly series of temperature show that the winter six months from April to September have a low and nearly equal temperature, there being a very abrupt fall in February and March, and an equally abrupt rise in October and November. The warmest day experienced at the “Discovery’s” winter quarters had a mean temperature of 34·7°, and the coldest −45·7°, the extreme range of daily temperature being thus 80·4°.
The absolutely lowest temperature recorded in the Antarctic region was −66·8° on a journey southward from the “Discovery’s” winter quarters by Lieut. Barne on the 15th of September 1903, the lowest temperature at the winter-quarters was −58·5° on the 28th of September 1903. On Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition the lowest temperature was −57°; but no other expedition met temperatures lower than −45·6° on the “Belgica,” −43·1° at Cape Adare, and −41·4° on the “Gauss.” Sudden rises of temperature during storms are common in the Antarctic region, from whichever quarter the wind blows. During the ascent of Mt Erebus the temperature was found to fall as the height increased from 0° F. at sea-level to −24° at 5000 ft.; it remained stationary to 8600 ft., fell to −28° at 10,650 ft., and then rose to −22° at 11,500 ft., and fell a few degrees at the summit. It might appear as if the “isothermal layer” of the upper atmosphere had been reached at a remarkably low elevation; but the temperature variations may also be explained by differences in the temperature of the strong air currents which were passed through.
Pressure and Winds.—The normal fall of pressure southward, which gives rise to the strong westerly winds of the roaring forties, appears to be arrested about 65° S., and to be succeeded by a rise of pressure farther south. This view is supported by the frequency of south-easterly winds in the neighbourhood of the Antarctic Circle reported by all explorers, and the hypothesis of a south polar anticyclone or area of high pressure over the Antarctic continent has gained currency in advance of any observations to establish it. The complete data of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition are not available at the time of writing, but the yearly mean pressure as recorded at the “Discovery’s” winter-quarters was 29·35 in. for 1902, and 29·23 in. for 1903. At Cape Adare it was 29·13 in. for 1899, in the “Belgica” 29·31 in. for 1898, and in the “Gauss” 29·13 in. for 1902. These figures, so far as they are comparable, show distinctly higher pressures in the higher latitudes, and the wind observations bear out the inference of a south-polar high pressure area, as at the “Discovery’s” winter-quarters 80% of the winds had an easterly component, and only 3% a westerly component. It is bewildering, however, to find that on the sledge journeys there was an equally marked preponderance of w1nd with a westerly component, and in discussing the result in the published records of the expedition Mr R. H. Curtis, of the Meteorological Office, felt compelled to ask whether the correction for variation of the compass (in that region about r45°) was possibly omitted in the case of the sledge journeys. The “Gauss” observations and those at Cape Adare bore out the frequency of easterly winds, and on the “Scotia” it was observed that practically all of the easterly winds met with were to the south of the Antarctic Circle. The “Belgica” found rather more westerly than easterly winds in her drift; easterly winds predominating in summer, westerly winds in winter. At Cape Royds Shackleton found easterly winds to predominate, the most frequent direction being south-east; but on the great southern journey, south-south-east winds prevailed, occasionally swinging round to south-south-west, and even at the farthest south (88° S.) the ridges into which the snow was blown, 10,000 ft. above the sea, showed that south-southeasterly winds predominated. On the journey to the Magnetic Pole Professor David found that along the coast the prevailing winds were south-westerly, with occasional blizzards from the south-east, but he noticed that the westerly winds were of the nature of a land breeze, springing up soon after midnight and continuing to blow fresh until about 10 a.m. Thus the balance of probability inclines towards the hypothesis of a south-polar high-pressure area. An upper current of air blowing from a north-westerly direction was usually indicated by the clouds and smoke on Mt Erebus, and on the occasion of a great eruption, when the steam column reached more than 20,000 ft. above the sea it entered a still higher stratum of wind blowing from the south-east.
The intensity of the blizzards is worthy of remark, for the velocity of the wind often reached 40 or even 60 m. an hour, and they were usually accompanied by a rapid rise of temperature.
Observations of sunshine made at the “Discovery’s” winter quarters yielded many records of continuous sunshine extending throughout 24 consecutive hours. and in the summer months about 50 % of the possible sunshine was often recorded, the maximum being 490 hours, or 66% of the total possible for December 1903. Thus, although the sun was above the horizon only for 246 days, it shone sufficiently to yield more than 1725 hours of bright sunshine for the year, an amount exceeded in few parts of England, where the sun may shine on 365 days. The intensity of solar radiation in the clear weather of the Antarctic makes it feel exceedingly hot even when the air temperature is far below the freezing point. There is a great difference between the clear skies of 78° S. and the extremely frequent fogs which shroud the coast near the Antarctic Circle and render navigation and surveying exceedingly difficult. Heavy snowstorms are frequent on the coast, but inland during the snow blizzards it is impossible to say whether the whirling snow-dust is falling from the air or being swept from the ground. Professor David is inclined to believe that the surface of the snow-plains is being lowered more by the action of the wind sweeping the snow out to sea than it is raised by precipitation, the total amount of which appears to be very small.
Flora and Fauna.—Recent expeditions have discovered that, despite the low temperature of the summer, in which no month has a mean temperature appreciably above the freezing point, there are on the exposed Antarctic land patches of ground with a sparse growth of cryptogamic vegetation consisting of mosses, lichens, fungi and fresh-water algae. The richest vegetation discovered on the “Nimrod” expedition consisted of sheets of a lichen or fungoid growth, covering the bottom of the freshwater lakes near Cape Royds, and visible through the clear ice throughout the many months when the water is frozen. No lowering plants occur within the Antarctic Circle or in the immediately adjacent lands.
The marine fauna is very rich and abundant. All the expeditions obtained many new species, and the resemblance which occurs between many of the forms and those which inhabit the Arctic seas has given rise to the hypothesis that certain species have been able to pass from one frigid zone to the other. It is argued on the other hand that all the forms which resemble each other in the two polar areas are cosmopolitan, and occur also in the intermediate seas; but the so-called “problem of bipolarity” is still unsettled. Bird life on sea and land is fairly abundant, the most common forms being the skua gull, snow petrels, and the various species of penguins. The penguins are specially adapted for an aquatic life, and depend for their food entirely on marine animals. The largest species, the emperor penguin, inhabits the most southerly coast known on the edge of the Great Barrier, and there it breeds at mid-winter, very interesting specializations of structure and habit making this apparently impossible feat practicable. The social organization and habits of the various species of penguins have been carefully studied, and show that these birds have arrived at a stage of what might almost be called civilization worthy of the most intelligent beings native to their continent. The only mammalian life in the Antarctic is marine, in the form of various species of whales, but not the “right whale,” and a few species of seals which live through the winter by keeping open blow-holes in the sea-ice. There is no trace of any land animal except a few species of minute wingless insects of a degenerate type. The fresh-water ponds teem with microscopic life, the tardigrada, or “water bears” and rotifers showing a remarkable power of resistance to low temperature, being thawed out alive after being frozen solid for months and perhaps for years.
Authorities.—H. R. Mill, The Siege of the South Pole, a history of Antarctic exploration with complete bibliography (London, 1905); K. Fricker, Antarktis (Berlin, 1898; trans. as The Antarctic Regions (London, 1900); A. Rainaud, Le Continent austral. (Paris, 1893, historical); E. S. Balch, Antarctica (New York, 1902, historical); James Cook, A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World (3 vols, London, 1777); H. Gravelius, F. von Bellingshausens Forschungsfahrten im südlichen Eismeer 1819–1821 (Leipzig, 1902); James Weddell, A Voyage Towards the South Pole (London, 1825); J. S. C. Dumont D’Urville, Voyage au Pôle Sud et dans l’Océanie (29 vols, Paris, 1841–1845); Charles Wilkes, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition during 1838–1842 (6 vols, Philadelphia, 1845); J. C. Ross, Voyage of Discovery and Research tn the Southern and Antarctic Regions (2 vols., London, 1847); W. G. Burn-Murdoch, From Edinburgh to the Antarctic (London, 1894; an account of the voyage of the “ Balaena,” 1892–1893); H. J. Bull, The Cruise of the “Antarctic” to the South Polar Regions (London, 1896); the voyage to Victoria Land in 1894 1895)i F. A. Cook, Through the First Antarctic Night, 1898–1899 (New York and London, 1900); the voyage of the “Belgica”; A. de Gerlache, Quinze mois dans l’Antarctique (Paris, 1902); Georges Lecointe, Au pays des Manchots (“Belglca,” Brussels, 1904); Resultats du volyage du S. Y. “Belglca,” Rapports scientifiques (many vols., Brusse s, v.d.); C. E. Borchgrevink, First on the Antarctic Continent (London, 1901); L. Bernacchi, To the South Polar Regions (London, 1901; the expedition of the “Southern Cross”); Report on the Collections of the “Southern Cross” (British Museum, London, 1902); G. Murray (editor), The Antarctic Manual (London, 1901); R. F. Scott, The Voyage of the “Discovery” (2 vols, London, 1905); A. B. Armitage, Two Years in the Antarctic (London, 1905); National Antarctic Expedition 1901–1904 (scientific results published by the Royal Society, London, several vols., v.d.); G. von Neumayer, Auf zum Sudpol (Berlin, 1901); E. von Drygalski, Zum Kontinent des eisigen Sudens (Berlin, 1904); Scientific Results of “Gauss” expedition; Otto Nordenskjold and J. G Andersson, Antarctica (London, 1905); R. N. R. Brown, R. C. Mossman and J. H. H. Pirie, The Voyage of the “Scotia” (London, 1906); Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of the “Scotia” (several vols, Edinburgh, v.d); J. B. Charcot, Le Français au Pôle Sud (Paris, 1906): E. H. Shackleton, The Heart of the Antarctic (2 vols, London, 1909); British Antarctic Expedition 1907–1909. Reports on the Scientific Investigations (several vols., London, v.d.). (H. R. M.)
- It must be remembered that for cartographical purposes temperature is reduced to its value at sea-level, allowing for a change of 1° F. in about 300 ft. Thus the actual temperature on the snowcap of Greenland at the height of 9000 ft. is 30° F. lower at all seasons than is shown on an isothermal map, and that of Verkhoyansk (500 ft) is only 1·5° F. lower than is charted.