Antarctica

Ernest Shackleton and his South Pole Expeditions

Ernest Shackleton and his South Pole Expeditions

On 9 January 1909, British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and three companions reached a new Farthest South latitude of 88° 23′ S, a point only 180 km from the South Pole and were forced to return to McMurdo Sound in a race against starvation. “The outstanding feature of today’s march is that we have seen new land to the South never seen by human eyes before great snow clad heights [which] we did…
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Charles Wilkes and the Exploring Expedition of 1838

Charles Wilkes and the Exploring Expedition of 1838

On April 3, 1789, American Naval officer and explorer Charles Wilkes was born. Wilkes led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, on which he determined that Antarctica (which Wilkes so named) is a continent. He also commanded the ship in the Trent Affair during the American Civil War (1861–1865), where he attacked a Royal Mail Ship, almost leading to war between the US and the UK. Charles Wilkes and the U.S. Exploring…
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Laurence Gould’s geological Exploration of Antarctica

Laurence Gould’s geological Exploration of Antarctica

On August 22, 1896, American geologist, educator, and polar explorer Laurence McKinley Gould was born. Gould was the first geologist to reach the interior of the Antarctic continent. He travelled to the Queen Maud Mountains, making geological and glaciological surveys. Laurence Gould was born in Lacota, Michigan. After completing high school in South Haven, Michigan in 1914 he began teaching while saving money for college. He managed to enroll at the University of Michigan two…
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Sir Edmund Hillary – Mountaineer, Explorer and Philanthropist

Sir Edmund Hillary – Mountaineer, Explorer and Philanthropist

On July 20, 1919, New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist Sir Edmund Percival “Ed” Hillary was born. Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest. Following his…
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Vivian Fuchs and the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition

Vivian Fuchs and the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition

On February 11, 1908, British geologist and explorer Sir Vivian Ernest Fuchs was born. Fuchs initiated and led together with Sir Edmund Hillary [5,6] the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1957-58, which completed the first overland crossing of Antarctica in 1958. Education and first Expeditions Vivian Fuchs was born in 1908 in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, the son of the German immigrant Ernst Fuchs from the Jena area and of his British wife Violet Watson. He visited Brighton…
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James Clark Ross and the Ross Expedition

James Clark Ross and the Ross Expedition

On February 2, 1841, British Polar explorer James Clark Ross with the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror reached a Southern latitude of 78° 10′ in Antarctica, when the expedition was forced to redraw because of a barrier of ice. The Ross expedition discovered the Ross Sea, Victoria Land, and the volcanoes Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, which were named for the expedition’s vessels. First Experiences in the Arctic James Clark Ross…
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The Nimrod Expedition and the Magnetic South Pole

The Nimrod Expedition and the Magnetic South Pole

On January 16, 1907, Australian geologists Tannatt William Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson together with Scottish physician Alistair Mackay, being part of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09, otherwise known as the Nimrod Expedition, led by Ernest Shackleton, reached the magnetic southpole. The major goal of the famous Nimrod Expedition was to be the first to reach the South Pole. Even though this goal was not fulfilled completely, the expedition’s southern march reached a…
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The Southern Pole of Inaccessibility

The Southern Pole of Inaccessibility

On December 14, 1958, an 18-man traversing party of the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition reached the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility. The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition for International Geophysical Year research work was led by Yevgeny Tolstikov. The southern pole of inaccessibility is the point on the Antarctic continent most distant from the Southern Ocean. For the pole, a variety of coordinate locations have been given since some measure the coast to the…
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Jules Dumont d’Urville and his South-Pacific Voyages

Jules Dumont d’Urville and his South-Pacific Voyages

On May 8, 1842, French explorer, naval officer and rear admiral Jules Sébastien César Dumont d’Urville passed away. D’Urville commanded voyages of exploration to the South Pacific (1826–29) and the Antarctic (1837–40), resulting in extensive revisions of existing charts and discovery or redesignation of island groups. As a botanist and cartographer he left his mark, giving his name to several seaweeds, plants and shrubs, and places such as D’Urville Island. Dumont was born…
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Edward Bransfield and the first Sighting of Antarctica

Edward Bransfield and the first Sighting of Antarctica

In January 1820, British Navy officer Edward Bransfield sighted Trinity Peninsula, the northernmost point of the Antarctic mainland. However, the very first confirmed sighting of mainland Antarctica cannot be accurately attributed to one single person. It can, however, be narrowed down to three individuals, who all sighted the ice shelf or the continent within days or months of each other: Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen,[1] a captain in the Russian Imperial Navy; Edward…
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