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123 A Brief History of the Discovery of Antarctica

09 . 02 . 2021

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Polar Newsreel: A wallet lost by US navy meteorologist on Antarctica in the 1960s turned up during demolition work])https://future.usap.gov/demolition-new-aims-construction/= at McMurdo base 53 years later. Nornickel must pay €1.62 billion for the huge Arctic oil spill.

Main Topic: Since the times of the father of geography, Ptolemy, people believed that the massive landmasses in the Northern Hemisphere would be balanced out by massive, yet undiscovered, lands in the south. This idea of the hypothetical "Great Southern Continent" together with the desire for a great fertile southern continent rich in resources to rival those of the New World nurtured expeditions to the Far South.

It was James Cook’s second voyage of 1772-75 which finally destroyed the dream of a vast, inhabited and prosperous “Terra Australis Incognita” and ushered in the new age of South Polar exploration.

Who actually discovered the southern continent has been heatedly disputed, chiefly on nationalistic grounds, primarily between the British support of Bransfield and Smith, and the Americans for Palmer. The controversy raged for over a century with accusations of wilful misinterpretation of the accounts and logs right up to claims and counter-claims for forgery.

In fact, the first person to actually see the continent was neither British nor American but was almost certainly the Russian Admiral von Bellingshausen. However, this wasn’t realised until his records became available in the West, almost a century later. Today it’s believed that the Russian expedition reached on 28 January 1820 a point within 32 km (20 mi) from Princess Martha Coast and recorded the sight of an ice shelf at 69°21′28″S 2°14′50″W that became known as the Fimbul Ice Shelf.

Further reading (affiliate links): Jakob Sondergard Pedersen & Philip Curtis (2012) The Mapping of Antarctica, The Map House of London, Robert Clancy, John Manning & Henk Brolsma (2013) Mapping Antarctica: A Five Hundred Year Record of Discovery, Springer Praxis Books, Peter Fretwell (2020) Antarctic Atlas: New Maps and Graphics That Tell the Story of A Continent, Particular Books

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt https://chrismarquardt.com/ Henry Páll Wulff: https://henrypall.com/

Listen to all podcast episodes at https://curiouslypolar.com

All video episodes at https://tfttf.com/curiouslypolarvideo

Find us here: Web: https://curiouslypolar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiouslypolar Instagram: https://instagram.com/curiouslypolar

125 When Dinosaurs Roamed Antarctica

03 . 02 . 2021

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Polar Newsreel If lockdown is taking it too hard on you, you might find some ease drawing some icebergs and see how they float. | To see an actual iceberg the size of Greater London you can follow the brand new one recently calved from Brunt Ice Shelf. | At the same time the first commercial vessel sailed the Northern Sea Route during winter. | After being fined $2 billion for the damage caused by the major fuel spill last year, Nornickel is making headlines again when three people die in a partial collapse of its ore processing plant in Norilsk. | Turkey plans it’s very own year-round Antarctic Research Station at Horseshoe Island in Marguerite Bay.

When Dinosaurs lived in Antarctica Wo would expect to find Dinosaurs in the coldest and most remote place in the world? But it hasn’t always been that way. There used to be a time when Antarctica was covered in forests and dinosaurs roamed the continent free. And in 1986 a group of Argentine scientists made their way to James Ross Island under expedition leader Eduardo B. Olivero. The expedition came back home with a sensational finding - the excavation of a few fossils, namely a partial skeleton and bony plates of some sort of body armour of a new plant-eating species, later to be named Antarctopelta oliveroi. And the area seems to be the dinosaur hot spot in Antarctica at the moment. In 1986 an expedition of the British Antarctic Survey discovered the second dinosaur on neighbouring Vega Island.

The places those fossils have been found so far are ice free and rather easy accessible. The more the Antarctic ice sheet will retreat, the more area the ice will set free, the more likely is that scientists may unveil more fossils to get a better picture of how Antarctica looked like in previous periods. And that in turn will give us a better understanding of how things have changed in the past.

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt https://chrismarquardt.com/ Henry Páll Wulff: https://henrypall.com/

Listen to all podcast episodes at https://curiouslypolar.com

All video episodes at https://tfttf.com/curiouslypolarvideo

Find us here: Web: https://curiouslypolar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiouslypolar Instagram: https://instagram.com/curiouslypolar

122 Logistical Extravaganza

02 . 02 . 2021

Notes

Watch this on video Buy us a coffee: Chris / Henry

News: Get a glimpse on the current seismic activity around the South Shetland Islands and embrace the break-up of Iceberg a-68a into smaller fragments that still are incredibly large or dive into geopolitics, architecture, glaciology, photography and conservation of Antarctica and more with the videos of the seven-day-online-festival Antarctica Now!

While logistics for Antarctic research stations are already challenging in ‘normal’ times, the pandemic has put them onto a new level and pushed everyone involved to their limits. The US Antarctic Programme and the National Science Foundation boarded their field staff in San Francisco and other cities to sail them down all the way to Antarctica. The Russian Antarctic Programme did the same, staffing icebreakers in Murmansk to send them all the way down to the 7th continent to bring the so-called winterers for the Russian stations. Most Antarctic Programmes have either cancelled or drastically reduced their research seasons in Antarctica due to the ongoing global pandemic. The British Antarctic Survey has evacuated staff from a number of research station but puts finishing touches on the upgrade on Rothera station. For those constructions, workforce have been brought to the Falkland Islands and then shipped down to the Antarctic Peninsula. And also the German Antarctic Programme operated by the Alfred-Wegener-Institute faced the necessity of becoming creative and almost causing a diplomatic incident to get the turnover staff to its Neumayer III research station.

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