Nansen's Fram expedition
Nansen's Fram expedition of 1893–96 was an attempt by the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen to reach the geographical North Pole by harnessing the natural east–west current of the Arctic Ocean. In the face of much discouragement from other polar explorers, Nansen took his ship Fram to the New Siberian Islands in the eastern Arctic Ocean, froze her into the pack ice, waited for the drift to carry her towards the pole. Impatient with the slow speed and erratic character of the drift, after 18 months Nansen and a chosen companion, Hjalmar Johansen, left the ship with a team of dogs and sledges and made for the pole, they did not reach it, but they achieved a record Farthest North latitude of 86°13.6′N before a long retreat over ice and water to reach safety in Franz Josef Land. Meanwhile, Fram continued to drift westward emerging in the North Atlantic Ocean; the idea for the expedition had arisen after items from the American vessel Jeannette, which had sunk off the north coast of Siberia in 1881, were discovered three years off the south-west coast of Greenland.
The wreckage had been carried across the polar ocean across the pole itself. Based on this and other debris recovered from the Greenland coast, the meteorologist Henrik Mohn developed a theory of transpolar drift, which led Nansen to believe that a specially designed ship could be frozen in the pack ice and follow the same track as Jeannette wreckage, thus reaching the vicinity of the pole. Nansen supervised the construction of a vessel with a rounded hull and other features designed to withstand prolonged pressure from ice; the ship was threatened during her long imprisonment, emerged unscathed after three years. The scientific observations carried out during this period contributed to the new discipline of oceanography, which subsequently became the main focus of Nansen's scientific work. Fram's drift and Nansen's sledge journey proved conclusively that there were no significant land masses between the Eurasian continents and the North Pole, confirmed the general character of the north polar region as a deep, ice-covered sea.
Although Nansen retired from exploration after this expedition, the methods of travel and survival he developed with Johansen influenced all the polar expeditions and south, which followed in the subsequent three decades. In September 1879, Jeannette, an ex-Royal Navy gunboat converted by the US Navy for Arctic exploration, commanded by George W. De Long, entered the pack ice north of the Bering Strait, she remained ice-bound for nearly two years, drifting to the area of the New Siberian Islands, before being crushed and sunk on 13 June 1881. Her crew made for the Siberian coast. Three years relics from Jeannette appeared on the opposite side of the world, in the vicinity of Julianehaab on the southwest coast of Greenland; these items, frozen into the drifting ice, included clothing bearing crew members' names and documents signed by De Long. In a lecture given in 1884 to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters Dr. Henrik Mohn, one of the founders of modern meteorology, argued that the finding of the Jeannette relics indicated the existence of an ocean current flowing from east to west across the entire Arctic Ocean.
The Danish governor of Julianehaab, writing of the find, surmised that an expedition frozen into the Siberian sea might, if its ship were to prove strong enough, cross the polar ocean and land in South Greenland. These theories were read with interest by the 23-year-old Fridtjof Nansen working as a curator at the Bergen Museum while completing his doctoral studies. Nansen was captivated by the frozen north. An expert skier, Nansen was making plans to lead the first crossing of the Greenland icecap, an objective delayed by the demands of his academic studies, but triumphantly achieved in 1888–89. Through these years Nansen remembered the east–west Arctic drift theory and its inherent possibilities for further polar exploration, shortly after his return from Greenland he was ready to announce his plans. In February 1890 Nansen addressed a meeting of the Norwegian Geographical Society in Oslo. After drawing attention to the failures of the many expeditions which had approached the North Pole from the west, he considered the implications of the discovery of the Jeannette items, along with further finds of driftwood and other debris from Siberia or Alaska, identified along the Greenland coast.
"Putting all this together," Nansen said, "we are driven to the conclusion that a current flows... from the Siberian Arctic Sea to the east coast of Greenland," passing across the Pole. It seemed that the obvious thing to do was "to make our way into the current on that side of the Pole where it flows northward, by its help to penetrate into those regions which all who have hitherto worked against have sought in vain to reach."Nansen's plan required a small and manoeuvrable ship, powered by sail and an engine, capable of carrying fuel and provisions for twelve men for five years. The vessel would follow Jeannette's route to the New Siberian Islands, in the approximate position of Jeannette's sinking, when ice conditions were right "we shall plough our way in amongst the ice as far as we can." The ship would drift with the ice towards the pole and reach the sea between Greenland and Spitsbergen. Should the ship founder, a possibility which Nansen thought unlikely, the party would camp on a floe and al
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.
Franz Josef Land
Franz Josef Land, Franz Joseph Land or Francis Joseph's Land is a Russian archipelago, inhabited only by military personnel, located in the Arctic Ocean and constituting the northernmost part of Arkhangelsk Oblast. It consists of 191 islands, which cover an area of 16,134 square kilometers, stretching 375 kilometers from east to west and 234 kilometers from north to south; the islands are categorized in three groups, a western and eastern, separated by the British Channel and the Austrian Strait. The central group is further divided into a southern section by the Markham Strait; the largest island is Prince George Land, which measures 2,741 square kilometers, followed by Wilczek Land, Graham Bell Island and Alexandra Land. Eighty-five percent of the archipelago is glaciated, with large unglaciated areas being located on the largest islands and many of the smallest islands; the islands have a combined coastline of 4,425 kilometers. Compared to other Arctic archipelagos, Franz Joseph Land has a high dissection rate of 3.6 square kilometers per coastline kilometer.
Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of the Eastern Hemisphere. The highest elevations are found in the eastern group, with the highest point located on Wilczek Land, 670 meters above mean sea level; the archipelago was first spotted by the Norwegian sealers Nils Fredrik Rønnbeck and Johan Petter Aidijärvi in 1865, although they did not report their finding. The first reported finding was in the 1873 Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition led by Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht, who named the area after Emperor Franz Joseph I; the islands under the name Fridtjof Nansen Land, were annexed by the Soviet Union in 1926, who settled small outposts for research and military purposes. The Kingdom of Norway rejected several private expeditions were sent to the islands. With the Cold War, the islands became off limits for foreigners and two military airfields were built; the islands have been a nature sanctuary since 1994 and became part of the Russian Arctic National Park in 2012.
There are two candidates for the discovery of Franz Josef Land. The first was the Norwegian sealing vessel Spidsbergen, with captain Nils Fredrik Rønnbeck and harpooner Johan Petter Aidijärvi, they sailed northeast from Svalbard in 1865 searching for suitable sealing sites, they found land, most Franz Josef Land. The account is believed to be factual, but an announcement of the discovery was never made, their sighting therefore remained unknown to subsequent explorers; this was at the time common to keep newly discovered areas secret, as their discovery was aimed at exploiting them for sealing and whaling, exposure would cause competitors to flock to the site. Russian scientist N. G. Schilling proposed in 1865 that the ice conditions in the Barents Sea could only be explained if there was another land mass in the area, but he never received funding for an expedition; the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition of 1872–74 was the first to announce the discovery of the islands. Led by Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht of Austria–Hungary on board the schooner Tegetthoff, the expedition's primary goal was to find the Northeast Passage and its secondary goal to reach the North Pole.
Starting in July 1872, the vessel drifted from Novaya Zemlya to a new landmass, which they named in honor of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria. The expedition contributed to the mapping and exploration of the islands; the next expedition to spot the archipelago was the Dutch Expedition for the Exploration of the Barents Sea, on board the schooner Willem Barents. Constrained by the ice, they never reached land. Benjamin Leigh Smith's expedition in 1880, aboard the barque Eira, followed a route from Spitsbergen to Franz Josef Land, landing on Bell Island in August. Leigh Smith explored the vicinity and set up a base at Eira Harbour, before exploring towards McClintock Island, he returned the following year in the same vessel. The explorers were stopped by ice at Cape Flora, Eira sank on 21 August, they built a cottage and stayed the winter, to be rescued by the British vessels Kara and Hope the following summer. These early expeditions concentrated their explorations on the southern and central parts of the archipelago.
Nansen's Fram expedition was an 1893–1896 attempt by the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen to reach the geographical North Pole by harnessing the natural east–west current of the Arctic Ocean. Departing in 1893, Fram drifted from the New Siberian Islands for one and a half years before Nansen became impatient and set out to reach the North Pole on skies with Hjalmar Johansen, they gave up on reaching the pole and instead found their way to Franz Josef Land, the nearest land known to man. They were thus able to establish. In the meantime the Jackson–Harmsworth Expedition set off in 1894, set up a base on Bell Island, stayed for the winter; the following season they spent exploring. By pure chance, at Cape Flora in the spring of 1896, Nansen stumbled upon Frederick George Jackson, able to transport him back to Norway. Nansen and Jackson explored the northern and western portions of the islands. Once the basic geography of Franz Josef Land had become apparent, expeditions shifted to using the archipelago as a basis to reach the North Pole.
The first such attempt was conducted by the National Geographic Society-sponsored American journalist Walter Wellman in 1898. The two Norwegians, Paul Bjørvig og Bernt Bentsen, stayed the winter 1898-9 at Cape Heller on Wilczek Land, but insufficient fuel caused the l
The South Pole known as the Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole, is one of the two points where Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on the surface of Earth and lies on the opposite side of Earth from the North Pole. Situated on the continent of Antarctica, it is the site of the United States Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, established in 1956 and has been permanently staffed since that year; the Geographic South Pole is distinct from the South Magnetic Pole, the position of, defined based on Earth's magnetic field. The South Pole is at the center of the Southern Hemisphere. For most purposes, the Geographic South Pole is defined as the southern point of the two points where Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface. However, Earth's axis of rotation is subject to small "wobbles", so this definition is not adequate for precise work; the geographic coordinates of the South Pole are given as 90°S, since its longitude is geometrically undefined and irrelevant.
When a longitude is desired, it may be given as 0°. At the South Pole, all directions face north. For this reason, directions at the Pole are given relative to "grid north", which points northwards along the prime meridian. Along tight latitude circles, clockwise is east, counterclockwise is west, opposite to the North Pole; the Geographic South Pole is located on the continent of Antarctica. It sits atop a featureless, barren and icy plateau at an altitude of 2,835 metres above sea level, is located about 1,300 km from the nearest open sea at Bay of Whales; the ice is estimated to be about 2,700 metres thick at the Pole, so the land surface under the ice sheet is near sea level. The polar ice sheet is moving at a rate of 10 metres per year in a direction between 37° and 40° west of grid north, down towards the Weddell Sea. Therefore, the position of the station and other artificial features relative to the geographic pole shift over time; the Geographic South Pole is marked by a stake in the ice alongside a small sign.
The sign records the respective dates that Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott reached the Pole, followed by a short quotation from each man, gives the elevation as "9,301 FT.". A new marker stake is fabricated each year by staff at the site; the Ceremonial South Pole is an area set aside for photo opportunities at the South Pole Station. It is located some meters from the Geographic South Pole, consists of a metallic sphere on a short bamboo pole, surrounded by the flags of the original Antarctic Treaty signatory states. Amundsen's Tent: The tent was erected by the Norwegian expedition led by Roald Amundsen on its arrival on 14 December 1911, it is buried beneath the snow and ice in the vicinity of the Pole. It has been designated a Historic Site or Monument, following a proposal by Norway to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting; the precise location of the tent is unknown, but based on calculations of the rate of movement of the ice and the accumulation of snow, it is believed, as of 2010, to lie between 1.8 and 2.5 km from the Pole at a depth of 17 m below the present surface.
Argentine Flagpole: A flagpole erected at the South Geographical Pole in December 1965 by the First Argentine Overland Polar Expedition has been designated a Historic Site or Monument following a proposal by Argentina to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. In 1820, several expeditions claimed to have been the first to have sighted Antarctica, with the first being the Russian expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev; the first landing was just over a year when American Captain John Davis, a sealer, set foot on the ice. The basic geography of the Antarctic coastline was not understood until the mid-to-late 19th century. American naval officer Charles Wilkes claimed that Antarctica was a new continent, basing the claim on his exploration in 1839–40, while James Clark Ross, in his expedition of 1839–43, hoped that he might be able to sail all the way to the South Pole. British explorer Robert Falcon Scott on the Discovery Expedition of 1901–04 was the first to attempt to find a route from the Antarctic coastline to the South Pole.
Scott, accompanied by Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson, set out with the aim of travelling as far south as possible, on 31 December 1902, reached 82°16′ S. Shackleton returned to Antarctica as leader of the British Antarctic Expedition in a bid to reach the Pole. On 9 January 1909, with three companions, he reached 88°23' S – 112 miles from the Pole – before being forced to turn back; the first men to reach the Geographic South Pole were the Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his party on December 14, 1911. Amundsen named his camp Polheim and the entire plateau surrounding the Pole King Haakon VII Vidde in honour of King Haakon VII of Norway. Robert Falcon Scott returned to Antarctica with his second expedition, the Terra Nova Expedition unaware of Amundsen's secretive expedition. Scott and four other men reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912, thirty-four days after Amundsen. On the return trip and his four companions all died of starvation and extreme cold. In 1914 Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition set out with the goal of crossing Antarctica via the South Pole, but his ship, the Endurance, was frozen in pack ice and sank 1
Robert Falcon Scott
Captain Robert Falcon Scott, was a British Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition of 1901–1904 and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition of 1910–1913. On the first expedition, he set a new southern record by marching to latitude 82°S and discovered the Antarctic Plateau, on which the South Pole is located. On the second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, less than five weeks after Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition. A planned meeting with supporting dog teams from the base camp failed, despite Scott's written instructions, at a distance of 150 miles from their base camp and 12 miles from the next depot and his companions died; when Scott and his party's bodies were discovered, they had in their possession the first Antarctic fossils discovered. The fossils were determined to be from the Glossopteris tree and proved that Antarctica was once forested and joined to other continents.
Before his appointment to lead the Discovery Expedition, Scott had followed the career of a naval officer in the Royal Navy. In 1899, he had a chance encounter with Sir Clements Markham, the president of the Royal Geographical Society, thus learned of a planned Antarctic expedition, which he soon volunteered to lead. Having taken this step, his name became inseparably associated with the Antarctic, the field of work to which he remained committed during the final 12 years of his life. Following the news of his death, Scott became a celebrated hero, a status reflected by memorials erected across the UK. However, in the last decades of the 20th century, questions were raised about his competence and character. Commentators in the 21st century have regarded Scott more positively after assessing the temperature drop below −40 °C in March 1912 and after re-discovering Scott's written orders of October 1911, in which he had instructed the dog teams to meet and assist him on the return trip. Scott was born on 6 June 1868, the third of six children and elder son of John Edward, a brewer and magistrate, Hannah Scott of Stoke Damerel, near Devonport.
There were naval and military traditions in the family, Scott's grandfather and four uncles all having served in the army or navy. John Scott's prosperity came from the ownership of a small Plymouth brewery which he had inherited from his father and subsequently sold. Scott's early childhood years were spent in comfort, but some years when he was establishing his naval career, the family suffered serious financial misfortune. In accordance with the family's tradition and his younger brother Archie were predestined for careers in the armed services. Scott spent four years at a local day school before being sent to Stubbington House School in Hampshire, a cramming establishment that prepared candidates for the entrance examinations to the naval training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth. Having passed these exams Scott began his naval career as a 13-year-old cadet. In July 1883, Scott passed out of Britannia as a midshipman, seventh overall in a class of 26. By October, he was en route to South Africa to join HMS Boadicea, the flagship of the Cape squadron, the first of several ships on which he served during his midshipman years.
While stationed in St Kitts, West Indies, on HMS Rover, he had his first encounter with Clements Markham Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, who would loom large in Scott's career. On this occasion, 1 March 1887, Markham observed Midshipman Scott's cutter winning that morning's race across the bay. Markham's habit was to "collect" young naval officers with a view to their undertaking polar exploration work in the future, he was impressed by Scott's intelligence and charm, the 18-year-old midshipman was duly noted. In March 1888 Scott passed his examinations for sub-lieutenant, with four first class certificates out of five, his career progressed smoothly, with service on various ships and promotion to lieutenant in 1889. In 1891, after a long spell in foreign waters, he applied for the two-year torpedo training course on HMS Vernon, an important career step, he graduated with first class certificates in practical examinations. A small blot occurred in the summer of 1893 when, while commanding a torpedo boat, Scott ran it aground, a mishap which earned him a mild rebuke.
During the research for his dual biography of Scott and Roald Amundsen, polar historian Roland Huntford investigated a possible scandal in Scott's early naval career, related to the period 1889–90 when Scott was a lieutenant on HMS Amphion. According to Huntford, Scott "disappears from naval records" for eight months, from mid-August 1889 until 26 March 1890. Huntford hints at involvement with a married American woman, a cover-up, protection by senior officers. Biographer David Crane is unable to clarify further, he rejects the notion of protection by senior officers on the grounds that Scott was not important or well-connected enough to warrant this. Documents that may have offered explanations are missing from Admiralty records. In 1894, while serving as torpedo officer on the depot ship HMS Vulcan, Scott learned of the financial calamity that had overtaken his family. John Scott, having sold the brewery and invested the proceeds unwisely, had lost all his capital and was now bankrupt. At the age of 63, in poor health, he was forced to take a job as a brewery manager and move his family to Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
Three years while Robert was serving with the Channel squadron flagship HMS Majestic, John Scott died of heart disease, creating a fresh family crisis. Hannah Scott and her two unmarried daughters now relied on the
Sled dogs were important for transportation in arctic areas, hauling supplies in areas that were inaccessible by other methods. They were used with varying success in the explorations of both poles, as well as during the Alaskan gold rush. Sled dog teams delivered mail to rural communities in northern Canada. Sled dogs today are still used by some rural communities in areas of Alaska and Canada and throughout Greenland, they are used for recreational purposes and racing events, such as the Iditarod Trail and the Yukon Quest. Sled dogs are used in Canada, Greenland, Chukotka, Norway and Alaska. A 2017 study showed that 9,000 years ago the domestic dog was present at what is now Zhokhov Island, arctic north-eastern Siberia, which at that time was connected to the mainland; the dogs were selectively bred as either sled dogs or hunting dogs, implying that a sled dog standard and a hunting dog standard co-existed. The optimal maximum size for a sled dog is 20–25 kg based on themo-regulation, the ancient sled dogs were between 16–25 kg.
The same standard has been found in the remains of sled dogs from this region 2,000 years ago and in the modern Siberian husky breed standard. Other dogs were more massive at 30 kg and appear to be dogs, crossed with wolves and used for polar bear hunting. At death, the heads of the dogs had been separated from their bodies by humans and is thought to be for ceremonial reasons; the Danish military act as the police in Greenland and conduct sled dog patrols during the winter, which record all sighted wildlife. The number of patrols averaged 14,876 km/year during 1978-1998. By 2011, the arctic wolf had re-populated eastern Greenland from their reserve in the northeast through following these dog-sled patrols over distances of up to 560 kilometers. Historical references of the dogs and dog harnesses that were used by Native American cultures date back to before European contact; the use of dogs as draft animals was widespread in North America. There were two main kinds of sled dogs; these interior dogs formed the basis of the Alaskan Husky.
Russian traders following the Yukon River inland in the mid-1800s acquired sled dogs from the interior villages along the river. The dogs of this area were reputed to be stronger and better at hauling heavy loads than the native Russian sled dogs; the Alaskan Gold Rush brought renewed interest in the use of sled dogs as transportation. Most gold camps were accessible only by dogsled in the winter. "Everything that moved during the frozen season moved by dog team. This, along with the dogs' use in the exploration of the poles, led to the late 1800s and early 1900s being nicknamed the "Era of the Sled Dog". Sled dogs were used to deliver the mail in Alaska during the late early 1900s. Malamutes were the favored breed, with teams averaging eight to ten dogs. Dogs were capable of delivering mail in conditions that would stop boats and horses; each team hauled between 320 kilograms of mail. The mail was stored in waterproofed bags to protect it from the snow. By 1901, dog trails had been established along the entirety of the Yukon River.
Mail delivery by dog sled came to an end in 1963 when the last mail carrier to use a dog sled, Chester Noongwook of Savoonga, retired. He was honored by the US Postal Service in a ceremony on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. Airplanes took over Alaskan mail delivery in the 1930s. In 1924, Carl Ben Eielson flew the first Alaskan airmail delivery. Dogsleds were used to patrol western Alaska during World War II. Highways and trucking in the 40s and 50s, the snowmobile in the 50s and 60s, contributed to the decline of the working sled dog. Recreational mushing came into place to maintain the tradition of dog mushing; the desire for larger, load-pulling dogs changed to one for faster dogs with high endurance used in racing, which caused the dogs to become lighter than they were historically. Americans began to import Siberian Huskies to increase the speed of their own dogs, presenting "a direct contrast to the idea that Russian traders sought heavier draft-type sled dogs from the Interior regions of Alaska and the Yukon less than a century earlier to increase the hauling capacity of their lighter sled dogs."Outside of Alaska, dog-drawn carts were used to haul peddler's wares in cities like New York.
In 1925, there was a diphtheria outbreak in Alaska. There was not enough serum in Nome to treat the number of people infected by the disease. There was serum in Nenana, but the town was 1,100 kilometres away, inaccessible except by dog sled. A dog sled relay was set up by the villages between Nenana and Nome, 20 teams worked together to relay the serum to Nome; the serum reached Nome in six days. The Iditarod Trail was established on the path between these two towns, it was known as the Iditarod Trail. During the 1940s, the trail fell into disuse. However, in 1967, Dorothy Page, conducting Alaska's centennial celebration, ordered 14 kilometres of the trail to be cleared for a dog sled race. In 1972, the US Army performed a survey of the trail, in 1973 the Iditarod was established by Joe Redington, Sr; the race was won by Dick Wilmarth. The modern Iditarod is a 1,800-kilometre-long endurance sled dog race, it lasts for ten to eleven days, weather permitting. It begins with a ceremonial start in Anchorage, Alaska on the morning of t