Significant History


Ice Station Weddell

The South Atlantic's Weddell Gyre is the largest cyclonic gyre poleward of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, covering with its western portion the Weddell Sea. Vigorous vertical fluxes of heat and moisture together with a variable sea-ice cover couple Weddell waters with the cold polar atmosphere.
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"The Endurance"

Shackleton was drawn to exploration by his romantic, questing nature - not by scientific interest.
He was aware, however, that an expedition was formally "sanctioned" by its perceived scientific
goals. Accordingly, he had recruited a scientific staff of four; it included a biologist, a geologist,
a meteorologist and a physicist.
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"The Belgica"


Belgica Expedition

In 1895 the Sixth International Geographical Congress passed a resolution
that "the exploration of the Antarctic regions is the greatest piece of geographical exploration still to be undertaken...this work should be undertaken before the close of the century". Indeed, it was in that year that the first human footprints were made on the mysterious southern continent, by Carsten Borchgrevink, a Norwegian and, by coincidence, a childhood playmate of Roald Amundsen. When the resolution was made, the Antarctic continent was a blank on the map. In response to that resolution, Belgium announced an Antarctic expedition under the command of Adrien de Gerlach. With a reference from a Norwegian ship owner, and because he was a compatriot of Nansen, Amundsen was accepted as an officer, without salary. (shown to right)
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Photographs from the Belgica Expedition to the Amundsen Sea-1897-99

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