History of Antarctica
For the natural history of the Antarctic continent, see Antarctica. The history of Antarctica emerges from early Western theories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, believed to exist in the far south of the globe; the term Antarctic, referring to the opposite of the Arctic Circle, was coined by Marinus of Tyre in the 2nd century AD. The rounding of the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn in the 15th and 16th centuries proved that Terra Australis Incognita, if it existed, was a continent in its own right. In 1773 James Cook and his crew crossed the Antarctic Circle for the first time but although they discovered nearby islands, they did not catch sight of Antarctica itself, it is believed. In 1819, a few of the 644 crew of the wrecked Spanish ship of the line San Telmo with 74 cannons might have been the first men to set foot on Antarctica before dying of hypothermia - but there is no proof that they did. A year on the 27th of January, 1820 a Russian expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev discovered an ice shelf at Princess Martha Coast that became known as the Fimbul Ice Shelf.
Bellingshausen and Lazarev became the first explorers to see and discover the land of Antarctica continent. Three days on 30 January 1820, a British expedition captained by Edward Bransfield sighted Trinity Peninsula, ten months an American sealer Nathaniel Palmer sighted Antarctica on 17 November 1820; the first landing was just over a year when American Captain John Davis, a sealer, set foot on the ice. Several expeditions attempted to reach the South Pole in the early 20th century, during the'Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration'. Many resulted in death. Norwegian Roald Amundsen reached the Pole on 13 December 1911, following a dramatic race with the Englishman Robert Falcon Scott. Aristotle speculated, "Now since there must be a region bearing the same relation to the southern pole as the place we live in bears to our pole...". 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 European exploration of the southern hemisphere began.
In 1473 Portuguese navigator Lopes Gonçalves proved that the equator could be crossed, cartographers and sailors began to assume the existence of another, temperate continent to the south of the known world. The doubling of the Cape of Good Hope in 1487 by Bartolomeu Dias first brought explorers within touch of the Antarctic cold, proved that there was an ocean separating Africa from any Antarctic land that might exist. Ferdinand Magellan, who passed through the Straits of Magellan in 1520, assumed that the islands of Tierra del Fuego to the south were an extension of this unknown southern land, it appeared as such on a map by Ortelius: Terra australis recenter inventa sed nondum plene cognita. European geographers connected the coast of Tierra del Fuego with the coast of New Guinea on their globes, 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 the Terra Australis Incognita, 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. In 1599, according to the account of Jacob le Maire, the Dutch Dirck Gerritsz Pomp observed mountainous land at latitude. If so, these were the South Shetland Islands, the first European sighting of Antarctica. Other accounts, however, do not note casting doubt on their accuracy, it has been argued that the Spaniard Gabriel de Castilla claimed to have sighted "snow-covered mountains" beyond the 64° S in 1603, but this claim is not recognized. Quirós in 1606 took possession for the king of Spain all of the lands he had discovered in Australia del Espiritu Santo and those he would discover "even to the Pole". Francis Drake like Spanish explorers before him had speculated that there might be an open channel south of Tierra del Fuego. Indeed, when Schouten and Le Maire discovered the southern extremity of Tierra del Fuego and named it Cape Horn in 1615, they proved that the Tierra del Fuego archipelago was of small extent and not connected to the southern land.
In 1642 Tasman showed that New Holland was separated by sea from any continuous southern continent. Voyagers round the Horn met with contrary winds and were driven southward into snowy skies and ice-encumbered seas; the visit to South Georgia by the English merchant Anthony de la Roché in 1675 was the first discovery of land south of the Antarctic Convergence. Soon after the voyage cartographers started honouring the discoverer. James Cook was aware of la Roché's discovery when surveying and mapping the island in 1775. Edmond Halley's voyage in HMS Paramour for magnetic investigations in the South Atlantic met the pack 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 Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier to discover the "South Land" – described by a half legendary "sieur de Gonneyville" – resulted in the discovery of Bouvet Island in 54°10′ S, in the navigation of 48° of longitude of ice-cumbered sea nearly in 55° S in 173
The Antarctic Peninsula, known as O'Higgins Land in Chile, Tierra de San Martin in Argentina, known as the Palmer Peninsula in the US and as Graham Land in Great Britain, is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica, located at the base of the Southern Hemisphere. At the surface, it is the biggest, most prominent peninsula in Antarctica as it extends 1,300 km from a line between Cape Adams and a point on the mainland south of Eklund Islands. Beneath the ice sheet which covers it, the Antarctic Peninsula consists of a string of bedrock islands, they are joined together by a grounded ice sheet. Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South America, lies only about 1,000 km away across the Drake Passage; the Antarctic Peninsula is dotted with numerous research stations and nations have made multiple claims of sovereignty. The peninsula is part of disputed and overlapping claims by Argentina and the United Kingdom. None of these claims have international recognition and, under the Antarctic Treaty System, the respective countries do not attempt to enforce their claims.
The British claim is recognised though by Australia, New Zealand and Norway. Argentina has the most personnel stationed on the peninsula; the most first sighting of the Antarctic Peninsula, therefore of the whole Antarctic mainland, was on 27 January 1820 by an expedition of the Russian Imperial Navy led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. But the party did not recognize as the mainland what they thought was an icefield covered by small hillocks. Three days on 30 January 1820, Edward Bransfield and William Smith, with a British expedition, were the first to chart part of the Antarctic Peninsula; this area was to be called Trinity Peninsula and is the extreme northeast portion of the peninsula. The next confirmed sighting was in 1832 by John Biscoe, a British explorer, who named the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula as Graham Land; the first European to land on the continent is disputed. A 19th-century seal hunter, John Davis, was certainly the first. But, sealers were secretive about their movements and their logbooks were deliberately unreliable, to protect any new sealing grounds from competition.
Between 1901 and 1904, Otto Nordenskiöld led the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, one of the first expeditions to explore parts of Antarctica. They landed on the Antarctic Peninsula in February 1902, aboard the ship Antarctic, which sank not far from the peninsula. All crew were saved, they were rescued by an Argentine ship. The British Graham Land Expedition between 1934 and 1937 carried out aerial surveys and concluded that Graham Land was not an archipelago but a peninsula. Agreement on the name "Antarctic Peninsula" by the US-ACAN and UK-APC in 1964 resolved a long-standing difference over the use of the United States' name "Palmer Peninsula" or the British name "Graham Land" for this geographic feature; this dispute was resolved by making Graham Land the part of the Antarctic Peninsula northward of a line between Cape Jeremy and Cape Agassiz. Palmer Land is named for the United States seal hunter Nathaniel Palmer; the Chilean name for the feature, O'Higgins Land, is in honor of Bernardo O'Higgins, the Chilean patriot and Antarctic visionary.
Most other Spanish-speaking countries call it la Península Antártica, though Argentina officially refers to this as Tierra de San Martín. Other portions of the peninsula are named by and after the various expeditions that discovered them, including the Bowman Coast, the Black Coast, the Danco Coast, the Davis Coast, the English Coast, the Fallieres Coast, Loubet Land, the Nordenskjold Coast and the Wilkins Coast; the first Antarctic research stations were established during World War II by a British military operation, Operation Tabarin. The 1950s saw a marked increase in the number of research bases as Britain and Argentina competed to make claims over the same area. Meteorology and geology were the primary research subjects. Since the peninsula has the mildest climate in Antarctica, the highest concentration of research stations on the continent can be found there, or on the many nearby islands, it is the part of Antarctica most visited by tour vessels and yachts. Occupied bases include Base General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme, Bellingshausen Station, Comandante Ferraz Brazilian Antarctic Base, Rothera Research Station and San Martín Base.
Today on the Antarctic Peninsula there are many abandoned military bases. Argentina's Esperanza Base was the birthplace of Emilio Marcos Palma, the first person to be born in Antarctica; the grounding of the Argentine ship the ARA Bahía Paraíso and subsequent 170,000 US gal oil spill occurred near the Antarctic Peninsula in 1989. The peninsula is mountainous, its highest peaks rising to about 2,800 m. Notable peaks on the peninsula include Mount Castro, Mount Coman, Mount Gilbert, Mount Jackson, Mount Hope, the highest point at 3,239 m, Mount William, Mount Owen and Mount Scott; these mountains are considered to be a continuation of the Andes of South America, with a submarine spine or ridge connecting the two. This is the basis for the position advanced by Argentina for their territorial claims; the Scotia Arc is the island arc system that links the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula to those of Tierra del Fuego. There are various volcanoes in the islands around the Antarctic Peninsula; this volcanism is related to extensional tecton
Sir Douglas Mawson OBE FRS FAA was an Australian geologist, Antarctic explorer, academic. Along with Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton, he was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration; the Mawson Station in the Australian Antarctic Territory is named in his honour. Mawson was born on 5 May 1882 to Margaret Ann Moore, he was born in Shipley, West Yorkshire, but was less than two years old when his family immigrated to Australia and settled at Rooty Hill, now in the western suburbs of Sydney. He attended Fort Street Model School and the University of Sydney, where he graduated in 1902 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree, he was appointed geologist to an expedition to the New Hebrides in 1903. That year he published a geological paper on Mittagong, New South Wales, his major influences in his geological career were Professor Edgeworth David and Professor Archibald Liversidge. He became a lecturer in petrology and mineralogy at the University of Adelaide in 1905.
He first described the mineral davidite. Mawson joined Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition to the Antarctic intending to stay for the duration of the ship's presence in the first summer. Instead both he and his mentor, Edgeworth David, stayed an extra year. In doing so they became, in the company of Alistair Mackay, the first to climb the summit of Mount Erebus and to trek to the South Magnetic Pole, which at that time was over land. Mawson turned down an invitation to join Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition in 1910. Mawson chose to lead his own expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, to King George V Land and Adelie Land, the sector of the Antarctic continent south of Australia, which at the time was entirely unexplored; the objectives were to carry out geographical exploration and scientific studies, including a visit to the South Magnetic Pole. Mawson raised the necessary funds in a year, from British and Australian governments, from commercial backers interested in mining and whaling.
The expedition, using the ship SY Aurora commanded by Captain John King Davis, departed from Hobart on 2 December 1911, landed at Cape Denison on Commonwealth Bay on 8 January 1912, established the Main Base. A second camp was located to the west on the ice shelf in Queen Mary Land. Cape Denison proved to be unrelentingly windy, they wintered through nearly constant blizzards. Mawson brought the first aeroplane to Antarctica; the aircraft, a Vickers R. E. P. Type Monoplane, was to be flown by Francis Howard Bickerton; when it was damaged in Australia shortly before the expedition departed, plans were changed so it was to be used only as a tractor on skis. However, the engine did not operate well in the cold, it was removed and returned to Vickers in England; the aircraft fuselage. On 1 January 2009, fragments of it were rediscovered by the Mawson's Huts Foundation, restoring the original huts. Mawson's exploration program was carried out by five parties from the Main Base and two from the Western Base.
Mawson himself was part of a three-man sledging team, the Far Eastern Party, with Xavier Mertz and Lieutenant Belgrave Ninnis, who headed east on 10 November 1912, to survey King George V Land. After five weeks of excellent progress mapping the coastline and collecting geological samples, the party was crossing the Ninnis Glacier 480 km east of the main base. Mertz was skiing and Mawson was on his sled with his weight dispersed, but Ninnis was jogging beside the second sled. Ninnis fell through a crevasse, his body weight is to have breached the snow bridge covering it; the six best dogs, most of the party's rations, their tent, other essential supplies disappeared into the massive crevasse. Mertz and Mawson spotted one dead and one injured dog on a ledge 165 ft below them, but Ninnis was never seen again. After a brief service and Mertz turned back immediately, they had plenty of fuel and a primus. They sledged for 27 hours continuously to obtain a spare tent cover they had left behind, for which they improvised a frame from skis and a theodolite.
Their lack of provisions forced them to use their remaining sled dogs to feed the other dogs and themselves: Their meat was stringy and without a vestige of fat. For a change we sometimes chopped it up finely, mixed it with a little pemmican, brought all to the boil in a large pot of water. We were exceedingly hungry. Only a few ounces were used of the stock of ordinary food, to, added a portion of dog's meat, never large, for each animal yielded so little, the major part was fed to the surviving dogs, they ate the skin, until nothing remained. There was a quick deterioration in the men's physical condition during this journey. Both men suffered dizziness. Mawson noticed a dramatic change in his travelling companion. Mertz wished only to remain in his sleeping bag, he began to deteriorate with diarrhoea and madness. On one occasion Mertz refused to believe he was suffering from frostbite and bit off the
Antarctic field camps
Many Antarctic research stations support satellite field camps which are, in general, seasonal camps. The type of field camp can vary – some are permanent structures used during the annual Antarctic summer, whereas others are little more than tents used to support short term activities. Field camps are used from logistics to dedicated scientific research. Research stations in Antarctica Demographics of Antarctica List of Antarctic expeditions Transport in Antarctica COMNAP Antarctic Facilities COMNAP Antarctic Facilities Map Antarctic Digital Database Map Viewer SCAR
Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica, on average, is the coldest and windiest continent, has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast and far less inland; the temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C, though the average for the third quarter is −63 °C. Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, fungi, plants and certain animals, such as mites, penguins and tardigrades.
Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf; the continent, remained neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of accessible resources, isolation. In 1895, the first confirmed. Antarctica is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, thirty-eight have signed it since then; the treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, protects the continent's ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations; the name Antarctica is the romanised version of the Greek compound word ἀνταρκτική, feminine of ἀνταρκτικός, meaning "opposite to the Arctic", "opposite to the north".
Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorology about an Antarctic region in c. 350 BC Marinus of Tyre used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century CE. The Roman authors Hyginus and Apuleius used for the South Pole the romanised Greek name polus antarcticus, from which derived the Old French pole antartike attested in 1270, from there the Middle English pol antartik in a 1391 technical treatise by Geoffrey Chaucer. Before acquiring its present geographical connotations, the term was used for other locations that could be defined as "opposite to the north". For example, the short-lived French colony established in Brazil in the 16th century was called "France Antarctique"; the first formal use of the name "Antarctica" as a continental name in the 1890s is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew. The long-imagined south polar continent was called Terra Australis, sometimes shortened to'Australia' as seen in a woodcut illustration titled Sphere of the winds, contained in an astrological textbook published in Frankfurt in 1545.
Although the longer Latin phrase was better known, the shortened name Australia was used in Europe's scholarly circles. In the nineteenth century, the colonial authorities in Sydney removed the Dutch name from New Holland. Instead of inventing a new name to replace it, they took the name Australia from the south polar continent, leaving it nameless for some eighty years. During that period, geographers had to make do with clumsy phrases such as "the Antarctic Continent", they searched for a more poetic replacement, suggesting various names such as Antipodea. Antarctica was adopted in the 1890s. Antarctica has no indigenous population, there is no evidence that it was seen by humans until the 19th century. However, in February 1775, during his second voyage, Captain Cook called the existence of such a polar continent "probable" and in another copy of his journal he wrote:" believe it and it's more than probable that we have seen a part of it". However, belief in the existence of a Terra Australis—a vast continent in the far south of the globe to "balance" the northern lands of Europe and North Africa—had prevailed since the times of Ptolemy in the 1st century AD.
In the late 17th century, after explorers had found that South America and Australia were not part of the fabled "Antarctica", geographers believed that the continent was much larger than its actual size. Integral to the story of the origin of Antarctica's name is that it was not named Terra Australis—this name was given to Australia instead, because of the misconception that no significant landmass could exist further south. Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has been credited with popularising the transfer of the name Terra Australis to Australia, he justified the titling of his book A Voyage to Terra Australis by writing in the introduction: There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will be found in a more southern latitude.
East Antarctica called Greater Antarctica, constitutes the majority of the Antarctic continent, lying on the Indian Ocean side of the continent, separated from West Antarctica by the Transantarctic Mountains. It lies entirely within the Eastern Hemisphere and its name has been accepted for more than a century, it is higher than West Antarctica and includes the Gamburtsev Mountain Range in the centre. Apart from small areas of the coast, East Antarctica is permanently covered by ice; the only terrestrial plant life is lichens and algae clinging to rocks, there are a limited range of invertebrates including nematodes, springtails and midges. The coasts are the breeding ground for various seabirds and penguins, the leopard seal, Weddell seal, elephant seal, crabeater seal and Ross seal breed on the surrounding pack ice in summer. Covered in thick, permanent ice, East Antarctica comprises Coats Land, Queen Maud Land, Enderby Land, Kemp Land, Mac. Robertson Land, Princess Elizabeth Land, Wilhelm II Land, Queen Mary Land, Wilkes Land, Adélie Land, George V Land, Oates Land and Victoria Land.
All but a small portion of this region lies within the Eastern Hemisphere, a fact that has suggested the name. The name has been in existence for more than 90 years, but its greatest use followed the International Geophysical Year and explorations disclosing that the Transantarctic Mountains, provide a useful regional separation of East Antarctica and West Antarctica; the name was approved in the United States by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names in 1962. East Antarctica is higher than West Antarctica, is considered the coldest place on Earth; the subglacial Gamburtsev Mountain Range, about the size of the European Alps, in the center of East Antarctica, are believed to have been the nucleation site for the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, just underneath Dome A. Little of East Antarctica is not covered with ice; the small areas that remain free of ice, including the McMurdo Dry Valleys inland, constitute a tundra-type biodiversity region known as Maudlandia Antarctic desert, after Queen Maud Land.
There are no trees or shrubs, as only limited plant life can survive here. The coasts are home to seabirds and seals, which feed in the surrounding ocean, including the emperor penguin, which famously breeds in the cold, dark Antarctic winter. Seabirds of the coast include southern fulmar, the scavenging southern giant petrel, Cape petrel, snow petrel, the small Wilson's storm-petrel, the large south polar skua, Antarctic petrel; the seals of the Antarctic Ocean include leopard seal, Weddell seal, the huge southern elephant seal, crabeater seal and Ross seal. There are no large land animals but bacteria, springtails and midges live on the mosses and lichens; the remote and cold bulk of Antarctica remains entirely untouched by human intervention. The area is protected by the Antarctic Treaty System which bans industrial development, waste disposal and nuclear testing, while the Barwick Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, Cryptogam Ridge on Mount Melbourne are specially protected areas for their undisturbed plant life.
East Antarctic craton Polar plateau This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document "East Antarctica". World Wildlife Fund, C. M. Hogan, S. Draggan. Marielandia Antarctic tundra. in C. J. Cleveland, ed. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, DC