Friday 4 October 2019

Scientists’ Camp on Drifting Ice-Floe

THE STAR Johannesburg - 1938, January 6
Since May 1937 a group of Russian scientists, led by Professor O. Schmidt, had been living on an ice-floe in the Arctic.
The scientists left Rudolf Island, Franz Josef Land, on May 21, and flew over the North Pole before landing on the floe, 12 miles from the Pole, and establishing their camp. The scientists’ dwelling was a tent of duraluminium and rubber lined with eiderdown, reindeer hide and canvas; and it had windows of unbreakable glass.

It was their intention to remain on the camp for a year, maintaining continuous records of meteorological and other conditions over a region that might one day become an airway between the Old and New Worlds, but since May their observation post on which they were, was 10 feet thick, and before long it would be entering waters affected by the Gulf Stream.
The authorities in Moscow had the original intention of bringing the scientists back in the spring of 1938, but the unexpected drift had made it necessary to dispatch a “rescue” expedition at that stage.

The path of the floe’s drift is shown on the sketch, the X marking its position at that time.

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