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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/430

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By General A. W. GREELY, U.S. Army.

FEW Arctic expeditions have done so much to increase the world's knowledge as to the physical condition of large areas of the north polar zone as has that of the Fram, initiated and commanded by Dr. Fridtjof Nansen.

The expedition was unique in many respects. The Fram was a departure from the accepted models of Arctic ships; the route followed was one unindorsed by any Arctic authority. The ship was destined to drift unprecedented distances, beset by the enormous ice-pack of the Arctic ocean. The commander himself was not only to attain the highest north, but was to make a most hazardous journey, which was to have a successful and unexpected issue partly through the aid of another polar expedition whose location and existence were unknown to the expeditionary forces of the Fram. Electricity made the Arctic ship a glow of light, a phonograph brought well-known voices to cheer their hours of leisure. Indeed, every device that was deemed of value was utilized.

The extent of the Arctic ocean traversed by the Fram is indicated by the simple fact that she passed over 120 degrees of longitude above the eightieth parallel of north latitude, a distance of one-third around the world on that parallel.

Nansen and Johansen, in an attempt to reach the Pole, left the Fram March 14, 1895, in about 84° N., 100 E., but after an uneventful journey with dogs, they were obliged to turn back on April 7, 1895, in latitude 86° 14' N. They aimed to reach Spitzbergen and after months of weary effort and varying fortunes, these two hardy men landed on the east coast of the Franz Josef archipelago. Coming winter forbade further progress, so they constructed a hut and subsisted on land and sea game that was fortunately abundant. In the spring of 1896, turning southward, they attempted to reach by the kyak the east coast of Spitzbergen, hoping to be picked up by Norwegian whalers who frequent those waters. Fortunately for them, they met in April, 1896, Jackson, the commander of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition, near Cape Flora.

Meanwhile the Fram, continuing its westerly drift, in which it

  1. The Norwegian North Polar Expedition, 1893-1896. Scientific Results edited by Fridtjof Nansen. Vol. I. Longmans, Green & Co. N. Y., 1900. 1-16, 3 pl. 1-147, 3 pl 1-26, 2 pl. 1-53 pl. 1-137, 36 pl