Greenland is an autonomous constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for more than a millennium; the majority of its residents are Inuit, whose ancestors began migrating from the Canadian mainland in the 13th century settling across the island. Greenland is the world's largest island. Three-quarters of Greenland is covered by the only permanent ice sheet outside Antarctica. With a population of about 56,480, it is the least densely populated territory in the world. About a third of the population live in the capital and largest city; the Arctic Umiaq Line ferry acts as a lifeline for western Greenland, connecting the various cities and settlements. Greenland has been inhabited at intervals over at least the last 4,500 years by Arctic peoples whose forebears migrated there from what is now Canada.
Norsemen settled the uninhabited southern part of Greenland beginning in the 10th century, having settled Iceland to escape persecution from the King of Norway and his central government. These Norsemen would set sail from Greenland and Iceland, with Leif Erikson becoming the first known European to reach North America nearly 500 years before Columbus reached the Caribbean islands. Inuit peoples arrived in the 13th century. Though under continuous influence of Norway and Norwegians, Greenland was not formally under the Norwegian crown until 1262; the Norse colonies disappeared in the late 15th century when Norway was hit by the Black Death and entered a severe decline. Soon after their demise, beginning in 1499, the Portuguese explored and claimed the island, naming it Terra do Lavrador. In the early 18th century, Danish explorers reached Greenland again. To strengthen trading and power, Denmark–Norway affirmed sovereignty over the island; because of Norway's weak status, it lost sovereignty over Greenland in 1814 when the union was dissolved.
Greenland became Danish in 1814, was integrated in the Danish state in 1953 under the Constitution of Denmark. In 1973, Greenland joined the European Economic Community with Denmark. However, in a referendum in 1982, a majority of the population voted for Greenland to withdraw from the EEC, effected in 1985. Greenland contains the world's largest and most northerly national park, Northeast Greenland National Park. Established in 1974, expanded to its present size in 1988, it protects 972,001 square kilometres of the interior and northeastern coast of Greenland and is bigger than all but twenty-nine countries in the world. Greenland is divided into five municipalities – Sermersooq, Qeqertalik and Avannaata. Greenland does not have an independent seat at the United Nations. In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, in 2008, Greenlanders voted in favor of the Self-Government Act, which transferred more power from the Danish government to the local Greenlandic government. Under the new structure, in effect since 21 June 2009, Greenland can assume responsibility for policing, judicial system, company law and auditing.
It retains control of monetary policy, providing an initial annual subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion, planned to diminish over time. Greenland expects to grow its economy based on increased income from the extraction of natural resources; the capital, held the 2016 Arctic Winter Games. At 70%, Greenland has one of the highest shares of renewable energy in the world coming from hydropower; the early Norse settlers named the island as Greenland. In the Icelandic sagas, the Norwegian-born Icelander Erik the Red was said to be exiled from Iceland for manslaughter. Along with his extended family and his thralls, he set out in ships to explore an icy land known to lie to the northwest. After finding a habitable area and settling there, he named it Grœnland in the hope that the pleasant name would attract settlers; the Saga of Erik the Red states: "In the summer, Erik left to settle in the country he had found, which he called Greenland, as he said people would be attracted there if it had a favorable name."The name of the country in the indigenous Greenlandic language is Kalaallit Nunaat.
The Kalaallit are the indigenous Greenlandic Inuit people. In prehistoric times, Greenland was home to several successive Paleo-Eskimo cultures known today through archaeological finds; the earliest entry of the Paleo-Eskimo into Greenland is thought to have occurred about 2500 BC. From around 2500 BC to 800 BC, southern and western Greenland were inhabited by the Saqqaq culture. Most finds of Saqqaq-period archaeological remains have been around Disko Bay, including the site of Saqqaq, after which the culture is named. From 2400 BC to 1300 BC, the Independence I culture existed in northern Greenland, it was a part of the Arctic small tool tradition. Towns, including Deltaterrassern
Extreme points of Earth
This is a list of extreme points of Earth, the geographical locations that are farther north or south than, higher or lower in elevation than, or farthest inland or out to sea from, any other locations on the landmasses, continents or countries. For other lists of extreme points on Earth, including places that hold temperature and weather records, see Extremes on Earth, Lists of extreme points, List of weather records; the northernmost point on Earth is the Geographic North Pole, in the Arctic Ocean. The northernmost point on land is the northern tip of Kaffeklubben Island, north of Greenland, which lies north of Cape Morris Jesup, Greenland. Various shifting gravel bars lie farther north; the southernmost point on Earth and the southernmost point on land is the geographic South Pole, on the continent of Antarctica. The southernmost point of water is a bay on the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf along the coast of Antarctica about 100 kilometres south of Berkner Island, the southernmost island in the world.
The southernmost point of ocean is located on the Gould Coast. The westernmost and easternmost points on Earth, based on the east-west standard for describing longitude, can be found anywhere along the 180th meridian in Siberia, Antarctica, or the three islands of Fiji through which the 180th meridian passes. Using the path of the International Date Line, the westernmost point on land is Attu Island and the easternmost point on land is Caroline Island, Kiribati; the highest point on Earth's surface measured from sea level is the summit of Mount Everest on the border of Nepal and China. While measurements of its height vary the elevation of its peak is given as 8,848 m above sea level, it was first reached by Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa of Nepal Tenzing Norgay in 1953. The point farthest from Earth's center is the summit of Chimborazo in Ecuador, at 6,384.4 km from Earth's center. This is. Therefore, the summit of Chimborazo, near the Equator, is farther away from Earth's center than the summit of Mount Everest is.
Peru's Huascarán contends with Chimborazo, the difference in the mountains' heights being just 23 metres. The fastest point on Earth or, in other words, the point furthest from the axis of Earth is the summit of Cayambe in Ecuador, at 1,675.89 km/h and 6,383.95 km from the axis. Like Chimborazo, the fourth fastest peak at 1,675.47 km/h, it is close to the Equator and takes advantage of the oblate spheroid figure of Earth. More however, it being so near the Equator means that the majority of its distance from Earth's center goes into it being away from the axis; the importance of latitude becomes most apparent when one looks at the Challenger Deep compared to Mount Everest. The highest point accessible......by land vehicle is an elevation of 6,688 m on Ojos del Salado in Chile, reached by the Chilean duo of Gonzalo and Eduardo Canales Moya on 21 April 2007 with a modified Suzuki Samurai, setting the high-altitude record for a four-wheeled vehicle....by road is on a mining road to the summit of Aucanquilcha in Chile, which reaches an elevation of 6,176 m.
It was once usable by 20-tonne mining trucks. The road is no longer usable. 21.214°S 68.475°W / -21.214. It is used by buses regularly; the Ticlio pass, on the Central Road of Peru, is the highest surfaced road in the Americas, at an elevation of 4,818 m. The highest unsurfaced road is claimed by several different roads. All are unsurfaced or gravel roads including the passable road to Umling La, 17 kilometres west of Demchok in Ladakh, which reaches 5,800 m, Mana Pass, between India and Tibet, crossed by a gravel road reaching 5,610 m; the trafficked Khardung La in Ladakh lies at 5,359 m. A motorable gravel road crosses Marsimik La in Ladakh at 5,582 m....by train is Tanggula Pass, located on the Qinghai–Tibet Railway in the Tanggula Mountains of Qinghai/Tibet, China, at 5,072 m. The Tanggula railway station is the world's highest railway station at 5,068 m. Before the Qingzang Railway was built, the highest railway ran between Lima and Huancayo in Peru, reaching 4,829 m at Ticlio....by oceangoing vessel is a segment of the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal between the Hilpoltstein and Bachhausen locks in Bavaria, Germany.
The locks artificially raise the surface level of the water in the canal to 406 m above mean sea level, higher than any other lock system in the world, making
The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. The International Hydrographic Organization recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or the Arctic Sea, classifying it a mediterranean sea or an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, it is seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean. Located in the Arctic north polar region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic Ocean is completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America, it is covered by sea ice throughout the year and completely in winter. The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; the summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50%. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center uses satellite data to provide a daily record of Arctic sea ice cover and the rate of melting compared to an average period and specific past years. Human habitation in the North American polar region goes back at least 50,000–17,000 years ago, during the Wisconsin glaciation.
At this time, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the Bering land bridge that joined Siberia to north west North America, leading to the Settlement of the Americas. Paleo-Eskimo groups included the Pre-Dorset; the Dorset were the last major Paleo-Eskimo culture in the Arctic before the migration east from present-day Alaska of the Thule, the ancestors of the modern Inuit. The Thule Tradition lasted from about 200 B. C. to 1600 A. D. around the Bering Strait, the Thule people being the prehistoric ancestors of the Inuit who now live in Northern Labrador. For much of European history, the north polar regions remained unexplored and their geography conjectural. Pytheas of Massilia recorded an account of a journey northward in 325 BC, to a land he called "Eschate Thule", where the Sun only set for three hours each day and the water was replaced by a congealed substance "on which one can neither walk nor sail", he was describing loose sea ice known today as "growlers" or "bergy bits". Early cartographers were unsure whether to draw the region around the North Pole as water.
The fervent desire of European merchants for a northern passage, the Northern Sea Route or the Northwest Passage, to "Cathay" caused water to win out, by 1723 mapmakers such as Johann Homann featured an extensive "Oceanus Septentrionalis" at the northern edge of their charts. The few expeditions to penetrate much beyond the Arctic Circle in this era added only small islands, such as Novaya Zemlya and Spitzbergen, though since these were surrounded by pack-ice, their northern limits were not so clear; the makers of navigational charts, more conservative than some of the more fanciful cartographers, tended to leave the region blank, with only fragments of known coastline sketched in. This lack of knowledge of what lay north of the shifting barrier of ice gave rise to a number of conjectures. In England and other European nations, the myth of an "Open Polar Sea" was persistent. John Barrow, longtime Second Secretary of the British Admiralty, promoted exploration of the region from 1818 to 1845 in search of this.
In the United States in the 1850s and 1860s, the explorers Elisha Kane and Isaac Israel Hayes both claimed to have seen part of this elusive body of water. Quite late in the century, the eminent authority Matthew Fontaine Maury included a description of the Open Polar Sea in his textbook The Physical Geography of the Sea; as all the explorers who travelled closer and closer to the pole reported, the polar ice cap is quite thick, persists year-round. Fridtjof Nansen was the first to make a nautical crossing of the Arctic Ocean, in 1896; the first surface crossing of the ocean was led by Wally Herbert in 1969, in a dog sled expedition from Alaska to Svalbard, with air support. The first nautical transit of the north pole was made in 1958 by the submarine USS Nautilus, the first surface nautical transit occurred in 1977 by the icebreaker NS Arktika. Since 1937, Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations have extensively monitored the Arctic Ocean. Scientific settlements were established on the drift ice and carried thousands of kilometers by ice floes.
In World War II, the European region of the Arctic Ocean was contested: the Allied commitment to resupply the Soviet Union via its northern ports was opposed by German naval and air forces. Since 1954 commercial airlines have flown over the Arctic Ocean; the Arctic Ocean occupies a circular basin and covers an area of about 14,056,000 km2 the size of Antarctica. The coastline is 45,390 km long, it is surrounded by the land masses of Eurasia, North America, by several islands. It is taken to include Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, White Sea and other tributary bodies of water
Morris Ketchum Jesup
Morris Ketchum Jesup, was an American banker and philanthropist. He was the president of the American Museum of Natural History. Morris Jesup was born at Westport, Connecticut in 1830, the son of Charles Jesup and Abigail Sherwood, he was descended from Edward Jessup of the Stamford, New Haven Colony, an early settler in Middleburg, Long Island, now Elmhurst, Queens. Edward became owner of a large estate in what is now Hunts Point, Bronx. In 1854 Morris married Maria van Antwerp DeWitt, he died at home in New York City in 1908, is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. In 1842 he went to New York City, where after some experience in business, he established a banking house in 1852. In 1856 he organized the banking firm of MK Jesup & Company, which after two reorganizations became Cuyler, Morgan & Jesup, he became known as a financier, retiring from active business in 1884. Before his retirement, he was active in a wide variety of philanthropic endeavors. Jesup was one of the organizers of the United States Christian Commission during the Civil War, which helped provide care for wounded soldiers.
He was one of the founders of the Young Men's Christian Association, served as its president in New York in 1872. After 1860 he helped found and served as president of the Five Points House of Industry in New York, a type of settlement house in Lower Manhattan to teach new European immigrants the skills needed in the United States. In 1881, he became president of the New York City Tract Society, he donated the funds for construction of the Society's DeWitt Memorial Church in Rivington Street on the Lower East Side, a center of immigrant settlement. Jesup contributed funds and worked to better social conditions in New York, in a period when the city was struggling to aid many poor immigrants from rural areas of southern and eastern Europe, including the Russian Empire; the Woman's Hospital in New York City received $100,000. He was best known as a patron of scientific research: Jesup was a major contributor to fund the Arctic expeditions of Robert Peary, he was elected president of the Peary Arctic Club in 1899.
Jesup funded the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, a major ethnographic project led by the anthropologist Franz Boas. Jesup contributed to educational institutions, his contributions to Tuskegee Institute enabled George Washington Carver to develop a mobile educational station that he took to farmers. Jesup was treasurer of the John F. Slater Fund for the Education of Freedmen at its beginning, he served of the General Education Board. He gave $51,000 to the Yale Divinity School. Williams College received $35,000, he presented Jesup Hall to the Union Theological Seminary. In 1881, he was appointed president of the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, to which he gave large sums in his lifetime and bequeathed $1,000,000. In 1915 the Metropolitan Museum, New York, received by bequest of Mrs. Jesup, a large and valuable collection of paintings. In 1883 he became chairman of the newly formed Forestry Committee of the New York Chamber of Commerce, tasked with "saving the woods and waters of the State," an early step in a process that led to the creation of New York State's Adirondack Park in 1894.
Jesup was president of the New York Chamber of Commerce from 1899 until 1907, was the largest subscriber to its new building. Jesup was a member of the Jekyll Island Club on Jekyll Island, Georgia along with J. P. Morgan and William Rockefeller among others. To his native town he donated funds to construct the Westport Public Library, he died in New York City on 22 January 1908, aged 77. 1905, he was knighted by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia for his philanthropic work aiding immigrants from the Russian Empire. Columbia University's Jesup Lectureship is named after him; the Morris K. Jesup Psychological Laboratory on Vanderbilt University's Peabody campus was named for him and was the first building of its kind in the world; the American Museum of Natural History's hall of Northwest Coast Indians is named after him. The town of Jesup, Iowa is named for him. Jesup Trail at Acadia National Park is named after his wife. Westport Public Library Reynolds, Francis J. ed.. "Jesup, Morris Ketchum". Collier's New Encyclopedia.
New York: P. F. Collier & Son Company. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Jesup, Morris Ketchum". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.. "Jesup, Morris Ketchum". New International Encyclopedia. 12. New York: Dodd, Mead. P. 658. Works by or about Morris Ketchum Jesup at Internet Archive Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History - Objects and Photographs from Jesup North Pacific Expedition 1897-1902. "Jesup, Morris Ketchum". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920. Archives of the Peary Arctic Club - Correspondences between Morris Ketchum Jesup and Robert E. Peary
Rear Admiral Robert Edwin Peary Sr. was an American explorer and United States Navy officer who made several expeditions to the Arctic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best known for claiming to have reached the geographic North Pole with his expedition on April 6, 1909. Peary was born in Cresson, but was raised in Portland, following his father's death at a young age, he attended Bowdoin College joined the National Geodetic Survey as a draftsman. Peary enlisted as a civil engineer. In 1885, he was made chief of surveying for the Nicaragua Canal. Peary visited the Arctic for the first time in 1886, making an unsuccessful attempt to cross Greenland by dogsled, he returned in 1891 much better prepared, by reaching Independence Fjord conclusively proved that Greenland was an island. He was one of the first Arctic explorers to study Inuit survival techniques. On his 1898–1902 expedition, Peary set a new "Farthest North" record by reaching Greenland's northernmost point, Cape Morris Jesup.
He reached the northernmost point of the Western Hemisphere, at the top of Canada's Ellesmere Island. Peary made two further expeditions to the Arctic, in 1905–06 and in 1908–09. During the latter, he claimed to have reached the North Pole. Peary received a number of awards from geographical societies during his lifetime, in 1911 received the Thanks of Congress and was promoted to rear admiral, he served two terms as president of The Explorers Club, retired to Eagle Island. Peary's claim to have reached the North Pole was debated in contemporary newspapers, but won widespread acceptance. However, in a 1989 book British explorer Wally Herbert concluded that Peary did not reach the pole, although he may have been as close as 60 miles, his conclusions have been accepted, although disputed by some authorities. Robert Edwin Peary was born on May 6, 1856, in Cresson, Pennsylvania, to Charles N. and Mary P. Peary. After his father died in 1859, Peary's mother settled in Portland, Maine. After growing up in Portland, Peary attended some 36 miles to the north.
He was a member of the Delta Kappa Phi Beta Kappa fraternities while at college. He graduated in 1877 with a civil engineering degree. Peary lived in Fryeburg, from 1878 to 1879. During that time he made a profile survey from the top of Fryeburg's Jockey Cap Rock; the 360 degree survey mountains visible from the summit. His boyhood friend, Alfred E. Burton, suggested; the survey was cast in bronze and set atop a granite cylinder, erected to his memory by the Peary Family in 1938. A hike of less than a mile leads visitors to the monument. After college, Peary worked as a draftsman making technical drawings in Washington, D. C. at the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey office. He joined the United States Navy and on October 26, 1881, was commissioned as a civil engineer, with the relative rank of lieutenant. From 1884 to 1885 he was assistant engineer on the surveys for the Nicaragua Canal, became the engineer in charge; as reflected in a diary entry he made in 1885, during his time in the Navy, he resolved to be the first man to reach the North Pole.
In April 1886 he wrote a paper for the National Academy of Sciences proposing two methods for crossing Greenland's ice cap. One was to trek about 400 miles to the east coast; the second, more difficult path was to start from Whale Sound at the top of the known portion of Baffin Bay and travel north to determine whether Greenland was an island or if it extended all the way across the Arctic. Peary was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander on January 5, 1901, to commander on April 6, 1902. Peary made his first expedition to the Arctic in 1886, intending to cross Greenland by dog sled, taking the first of his own suggested paths, he was given six months' leave from the Navy, he received $500 from his mother to book passage north and buy supplies. He sailed on a whaler to Greenland, arriving in Godhavn on June 6, 1886. Peary wanted to make a solo trek but a young Danish official named Christian Maigaard convinced him he would die if he went out alone. Maigaard and Peary set off together and traveled nearly 100 miles due east before turning back because they were short on food.
This was the second-farthest penetration of Greenland's ice sheet at that date. Peary returned home knowing more of. Back in Washington attending with the US Navy, Peary was ordered in November 1887 to survey routes for a proposed Nicaragua Canal. To complete his tropical outfit he needed a sun hat, so he went to a men's clothing store. There he met a black man working as a sales clerk. Learning that Henson had six years of seagoing experience as a cabin boy, Peary hired him as a personal valet. On assignment in the jungles of Nicaragua, Peary told Henson of his dream of Arctic exploration. Henson accompanied Peary on every one of his subsequent Arctic expeditions, becoming his field assistant and "first man," a critical member of his team. In 1891 Peary returned to Greenland, taking the second, more difficult route that he had laid out in 1886: traveling farther north to find out whether Greenland was a much larger landmass extending to the North Pole, he was financed by several groups, including the American Geographic Society, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.
Members of this expedi
Peary Land is a peninsula in northern Greenland, extending into the Arctic Ocean. It reaches from Victoria Fjord in the west to Independence Fjord in the south and southeast, to the Arctic Ocean in the north, with Cape Morris Jesup, the northernmost point of Greenland's mainland, Cape Bridgman in the northeast. Peary Land is bounded by the Lincoln Wandel Sea of the Arctic Ocean in the north. Oodaaq island, the northernmost point of land of the world, lies off the north coast. Frederick E. Hyde Fjord, which cuts into Peary Land from the east 150 km deep, divides it into Northern Peary Land and Southern Peary Land; the coastline is indented by smaller fjords, such as G. B. Schley Fjord and Hellefisk Fjord in the east, J. P. Koch Fjord, De Long Fjord and Weyprecht Fjord in the west. Peary Land is part of the Northeast Greenland National Park; the size of the region is about 375 km east-west and 200 km north-south, with an estimated area of 57 000 km2. It is only a bit more than 700 km south of the North Pole.
It is free of Greenland's inland ice cap. Being north of the 82°N parallel, it contains the most northerly ice-free region of the world in Southern Peary Land. Precipitation levels are so low, it was not covered by glaciers during the most recent ice age. However, in its western part, there is the Hans Tausen Ice Cap with ice at least 344 m thick. Peary Land is mountainous, according to certain sources 1,737 m high Wistar Bjerg is the highest peak of Peary Land. However, there are unnamed elevations reaching up to 1,950 m in the glaciated Roosevelt Range and comparable heights in the little-explored H. H. Benedict Range. Peary Land was believed to be an island, separated from the main island by the Peary Channel, an assumed connection between Victoria Fjord and Independence Fjord. Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen, the ill-fated leader of the Denmark expedition, searched in vain for the Peary Channel in 1907 and was misled to his death by existing maps. Knud Rasmussen's First Thule Expedition confirmed in 1912.
There are more than 200 kilometers of dry land up to 1500 meters high between Victoria Fjord and Independence Fjord. Caribou, musk oxen, Peary Land collared lemmings are supported by the sparse vegetation, which covers only about 5% of the surface in the area around Jørgen Brønlund Fjord; the flora includes 33 species of flowering plants. Other fauna includes Arctic fox, polar wolf, polar bear, Arctic hare. One to two million years ago, when climates were warmer, trees such as larch, black spruce, birch and thuja grew in the northernmost Peary Land. Peary Land was inhabited by three separate cultures, during which times the climate was milder than presently: Independence I culture, Paleo-Eskimo Independence II culture, Paleo-Eskimo Thule culture The area is named after Robert E. Peary, who first explored it during his expedition of 1891 to 1892. There are two Arctic research stations on Brønlundhus and Kap Harald Moltke. Both stations were built on initiative of Eigil Knuth, have been the basis for many scientific expeditions.
Kap Harald Moltke station was built in connection with use of the natural runway east of Jørgen Brønlund Fjord mouth. The stations located 10 km from each other on either side of the fjord, with Brønlundhus on the western side, communication between them in summer is by boat, depending on ice conditions. Since the death of Eigil Knuth, the stations are administered by Peary Land Foundation. Today, Brønlundhus can be characterised as a museum, with a collection of artefacts from polar explorations. Exploration of Northern Greenland
The North Pole known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is defined as the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface. The North Pole is the northernmost point on the Earth, lying diametrically opposite the South Pole, it defines geodetic latitude 90° North, as well as the direction of true north. At the North Pole all directions point south. Along tight latitude circles, counterclockwise is east and clockwise is west; the North Pole is at the center of the Northern Hemisphere. While the South Pole lies on a continental land mass, the North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amid waters that are permanently covered with shifting sea ice; this makes it impractical to construct a permanent station at the North Pole. However, the Soviet Union, Russia, constructed a number of manned drifting stations on a annual basis since 1937, some of which have passed over or close to the Pole. Since 2002, the Russians have annually established a base, close to the Pole.
This operates for a few weeks during early spring. Studies in the 2000s predicted that the North Pole may become seasonally ice-free because of Arctic ice shrinkage, with timescales varying from 2016 to the late 21st century or later; the sea depth at the North Pole has been measured at 4,261 m by the Russian Mir submersible in 2007 and at 4,087 m by USS Nautilus in 1958. The nearest land is said to be Kaffeklubben Island, off the northern coast of Greenland about 700 km away, though some semi-permanent gravel banks lie closer; the nearest permanently inhabited place is Alert in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Canada, located 817 km from the Pole. The Earth's axis of rotation – and hence the position of the North Pole – was believed to be fixed until, in the 18th century, the mathematician Leonhard Euler predicted that the axis might "wobble" slightly. Around the beginning of the 20th century astronomers noticed a small apparent "variation of latitude," as determined for a fixed point on Earth from the observation of stars.
Part of this variation could be attributed to a wandering of the Pole across the Earth's surface, by a range of a few metres. The wandering has an irregular component; the component with a period of about 435 days is identified with the eight-month wandering predicted by Euler and is now called the Chandler wobble after its discoverer. The exact point of intersection of the Earth's axis and the Earth's surface, at any given moment, is called the "instantaneous pole", but because of the "wobble" this cannot be used as a definition of a fixed North Pole when metre-scale precision is required, it is desirable to tie the system of Earth coordinates to fixed landforms. Of course, given plate tectonics and isostasy, there is no system in which all geographic features are fixed, yet the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service and the International Astronomical Union have defined a framework called the International Terrestrial Reference System. As early as the 16th century, many prominent people believed that the North Pole was in a sea, which in the 19th century was called the Polynya or Open Polar Sea.
It was therefore hoped. Several expeditions set out to find the way with whaling ships commonly used in the cold northern latitudes. One of the earliest expeditions to set out with the explicit intention of reaching the North Pole was that of British naval officer William Edward Parry, who in 1827 reached latitude 82°45′ North. In 1871 the Polaris expedition, a US attempt on the Pole led by Charles Francis Hall, ended in disaster. Another British Royal Navy attempt on the pole, part of the British Arctic Expedition, by Commander Albert H. Markham reached a then-record 83°20'26" North in May 1876 before turning back. An 1879–1881 expedition commanded by US naval officer George W. DeLong ended tragically when their ship, the USS Jeanette, was crushed by ice. Over half the crew, including DeLong, were lost. In April 1895 the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen struck out for the Pole on skis after leaving Nansen's icebound ship Fram; the pair reached latitude 86°14′ North before they abandoned the attempt and turned southwards reaching Franz Josef Land.
In 1897 Swedish engineer Salomon August Andrée and two companions tried to reach the North Pole in the hydrogen balloon Örnen, but came down 300 km north of Kvitøya, the northeasternmost part of the Svalbard archipelago. They died there three months later. In 1930 the remains of this expedition were found by the Norwegian Bratvaag Expedition; the Italian explorer Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi and Captain Umberto Cagni of the Italian Royal Navy sailed the converted whaler Stella Polare from Norway in 1899. On 11 March 1900 Cagni led a party over the ice and reached latitude 86° 34’ on 25 April, setting a new record by beating Nansen's result of 1895 by 35 to 40 km. Cagni managed to return to the camp, remaining there until 23 June. On 16 August the Stella Polare left Rudolf Island heading south and the expedition returned to Norway; the US explorer Frederick Cook claimed to have reached the North Pole on 21 April 1908 with two Inuit men and Etukishook, but he was unable to produce convincing proof and his c