Antarctica: discovery and early human history As soon

Antarctica: discovery and early human history As soon as it was determined that the earth was round in the 6 th century B.C., speculation began about frigid zones north and south. Ptolemy (150 A.D.) was the first to state that there must be a southern continent, Terra Australis Incognita Ptolemy, Greek mathematician, geographer, astronomer

100 170 A.D. Also said that it was separated by a land of fire, or torrid zone, so explorations south were discouraged for the next 1200 years By 1400s, explorations began to pick up and the Cape of Good Hope was discovered in 1488, rounded in 1498, indicating there was more ocean and perhaps land south of Africa

Cape Agulhas is actually the most southern point in Africa and where the two oceans meet Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese explorer 1480 1521 Received support from the Spanish king to seek a western route to the Spice Island in SE Asia

In 1519-1520 Magellan sailed around the world and discovered the Straits of Magellan at Tierra del Fuego, though it may have been discovered earlier Magellan statue in main square at Punta Arenas, Chile Here Magellan ordered two ships to explore the channel to the west

while he took one ship to explore the bay His officers thought it useless, the bay too shallow to have a passage to the west Magellan persisted and his two ships succeeded in finding the route to the Pacific

Later, one officer wrote: Martin of Bohemia German mariner, 1459-1507 Had it not been for the Captain General, we would not have found that strait, for we all thought and said it was closed on

all sides. But he himself knew full well where to sail to find the well-hidden strait, which he had seen depicted on a map in the treasury of the King of Portugal, which was made by that excellent man, Martin of Bohemia. He therefore sent the two ships, the San Antonio and the Concepcin to discover

what was inside the cape of the bay. Presumed Tierra del Fuego, south of the straits, was part of the southern continent as was indicated on subsequent maps Sir Francis Drake sent to Tierra del Fuego in 1577 to explore the coastline and enter the Pacific via the Straits of Magellan Financed by merchants and ministers

Real purpose was to explore and take possession of the southern continent, in a way the first Antarctic expedition Drakes circumnavigation of the world, 1577-1580 The push south, though, did prove that Tierra del Fuego was not connected to a great southern continent, and Drake Passage was later named for Sir Francis Drake

Drake also recorded sightings of penguins: Wee found great store of strange birds which could not flie at all, nor yet runne so fast as that they could escape us with their liues; in body they are less than a goose, and bigger than a mallard, short and thicke sett together, having no feathers, but insteed thereof a certaine hard and matted downe; their beakes are not much unlike the bills of crowes, they lodge and breed upon the land, where making earthes, as the conies doe, in the ground,

they lay their egges and bring up their young; their feeding and provision to live on is in the sea, where they swimm in such sort, as nature may seeme to have granted them no small prerogative in swiftnesse. Interest in the great southern continent waned after this In 1592, an English ship was driven off the coast of Argentina and discovered the Falkland Islands In 1599, a Dutch ship was forced south to perhaps 64 and reported a high land with mountains covered with snow, resembling the land of Norway

May have been first sighting of the South Shetland Islands By 1620, maps were beginning to show some of Australias south coast and tentative lines for Antarctica as terra australis incognita One other English merchant ship was blown south when trying to enter the Straits of Magellan in 1675. Ended up at 55 south and took shelter in a bay of an unknown coast.

Stayed 14 days and found an end of the land and sighted another high snow-covered land to the south This was probably South Georgia Island and they sighted another island just south of there, not the Antarctic continent. French explorer, Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet, wanted to

explore and search for southern continent after seeing a map with empty ocean there. Obtained two ships and sailed south in 1738, first to Brazil, then southeast from there. Eventually saw ice floes, penguins, and through fog stumbled upon an ice covered land thought to be a cape off a continent, but now known as Bouvet Island, the most isolated island on earth. Bouvet couldnt land on the island and could not see it was an island from the fog and his men were cold, wet, some with scurvy Eventually forced to leave and it wasnt until 1808 before it was sighted again by whalers and 1822 when the first landing was made Eventually claimed by Norway in 1929, it was named in honor of Bouvet

French map in 1763 showing a possible continent and ice-filled sea in the south The next attempt to find the great southern continent was by the French, who sent Captain Yves-Joseph de Kergulen to Amsterdam Island in 1771 to explore from there farther to the south based on rumors of a tropical paradise.

In 1772 the ships found Kerguelen Islands, but not the tropical paradise as hoped. One boat landed, but Kerguelen returned to Madagascar and claimed they had found a lost continent. Later, when proven false, Kerguelen was dismissed from the navy and imprisoned

Captain James Cook (1728-1779) Considered the greatest navigator of his time Self taught in math and astronomy, joined the navy and quickly rose in rank In 1768, commanded an

expedition to the south Pacific Discovered New Zealand and the east coast of Australia and claimed them for Britain After this success in the Pacific, Cook was given command of a new

expedition to relocate Bouvets lost continent Sailed from England in two ships, the Resolution and Adventure, in 1772 Did not find Bouvet Island, but went farther south and disproved Bouvets claim for a southern continent there Spent winter in New Zealand, then sailed south again and hit lots of sea ice and turned back to New Zealand On third traverse, sailed to Tierra del Fuego, then relocated South

Georgia Island and discovered the South Sandwich Islands before returning to England in 1775 By now, Cook was famous in England and considered a great captain and navigator Given command of a third expedition in 1776 to find the northwest passage in the north Pacific. Took the Resolution again, plus a new ship, the Discovery. If found, this passage would avoid the hazardous route around

Cape Horn from Europe to Asia Went to Tahiti first, and decided to round Cape of Good Hope to reach the Indian Ocean Weather worsened and pushed him south again. Relocated Kerguelen Islands and claimed them for Britain despite earlier French claim

Sailed to New Zealand, then north in the Pacific and discovered the Hawaiian Islands in 1778 Died there is a skirmish with natives on the beach of the Big Island on 14 February 1779 Cook was the first to circumnavigate Antarctica and the first to cross the Antarctic Circle (66 S) He never sighted Antarctica, though, and his voyage proved

there was no southern continent The routes of Captain James Cook's voyages. The first voyage is shown in red, second voyage in green, and third voyage in blue. The route of Cook's crew following his death is shown as a dashed blue line. Cook can also be credited with developing sanitation and dietary rules that kept his men healthier than any other ships crews up to that time.

He made them clean cooking vessels more thoroughly He also gave them more fresh food and green vegetables, preventing scurvy which up to then killed more men at sea than any other single cause Caused by Vitamin C deficiency, or going long periods without fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat Symptoms include lethargy, gum disease, easy bruising, liver disease, and death Poorly understood, even up into the early

20th century Cooks voyages limited any great southern continent to south of the Antarctic circle, which he crossed three times but never sighted the continent Unfortunately, his reports opened the door for sealers to head south

and take advantage of the rich resources there Due to competition among the sealers, their discoveries and maps were kept secret Rounding Cape Horn Classic footage by Irving Johnson sailing on the Peking in 1929 Sealer captain William Smith (British) was able to relocate the South Shetland Islands and was the first to do a landing there in 1819 Followed by Nathanial Palmer, an American sealer in 1821 More British ships followed to survey and map, search for new land, under Captains Weddell, Biscoe, Kemp, and Balleny

Nathanial Palmer Scientific Expeditions While sealers were making incursions deeper into the Southern Ocean, the first scientific mapping and discovery expeditions were initiated Russia finally joined exploration to the south with two ships sent to expand on Cooks findings and search for the southern continent in 1819

Under command of Captain Fabian Thaddeus Bellingshausen, the ships Vostok and Mirny sailed to the South Shetlands and, for the first time since Cook, across the Antarctic Circle This was the first Russian Antarctic Expedition In January 1820, Bellinghausen reached 69 21 S and saw continuous hillocks of ice

May have seen the continent, but mistook it for more icebergs? They continued around Antarctica and then ended the voyage in Australia In 1820, Bellingshausen left Sydney to continue his voyage and explorations Went farther south again, across the Circle, and finally found landislands

along the base of the Antarctic Peninsula including Alexander Island, which he named in honor of Tsar Alexander I. Then he came across eight English and American sealing ships and met Captain Palmer who was commanding one of them While Bellingshausen is credited as being the first to sight the Antarctic

continent, some claim Palmer was After this, Russia lost interest in the south except for whalers in the 1940s During the IGY, Russia established their first scientific station in Antarctica in 1957, Mirny Station, in East Antarctica At the same time these exploration and mapping voyages were taking

place the sealers continued their push south to new lands to exploit Captain Smith or Palmer may have sighted the continent in 1819 Captain Weddell was able to go farther south than anyone before (74 15 S) in an unusually warm and ice-free year, discovering the Weddell Sea but turning back before sighting the continent Weddells ships entering the Weddell Sea

Captain John Biscoe (British) circumnavigated Antarctica in 18311832 and made landings on islands along the Antarctic Peninsula. Based on his observations, he was the first to believe that a large continent existed at the south pole instead of an icy sea

The next scientific voyage was by the French who sent Dumont dUrville on a voyage of discovery in 1837 in the vessel Astrolabe and Zle Intended to follow the tracks of Weddell and go farther south and reached the Weddell Sea in summer 1838, but much more ice now Turned back and explored South Shetlands, claimed some coastline for France

Tried again in 1840 and this time made landfall, but not on the continent, but on a rocky islet of few hundred meters from shore. Pointe Geologie is now where the French research station Dumont dUrville was built in the IGY, 1957-1958 Charles Wilkes and the U.S. Exploring Expedition 1838-1842 Four ships commissioned by the U.S. Navy to explore the Antarctic, map, collect specimens Consisted of 82 offices and nine naturalists, scientists and artists

The ships split up on separate missions and one was able to make it to 70 04 S near Cooks farthest south One ship lost in a storm on the Chilean coast going back north, the rest spent the winter in the Pacific Second voyage south they sighted land off the east Antarctic coast,

but could not land, had to turn back north One ship under Captain Ringgold, had a chance encounter with dUrvilles ship Astrolabe. Tried to make contact, but there was a misunderstanding and they went separate ways

Wilkes returned home, but his sightings had errors and he was subjected to a Navy Court of Inquiry. He was the first to refer to the Antarctic Continent and scientific results were later published in five volumes

Painting of a snow petrel by Titian Peale, the naturalist aboard the Peacock James Clark Ross 1839-1843 British Expedition for the South Magnetic Pole Ross was perfect for this expedition

the most experienced officer in Arctic navigation and an expert on terrestrial magnetism Two ships sent south, the Erebus and Terror, in 1839 Part of mission was to establish magnetic observation stations at the Cape of Good Hope, Kerguelen Island,

and Tasmania Expedition also included a naturalist, Joseph Hooker Ross headed south with his ships and encountered lots of pack ice as he neared the continent. Plowed through the ice and reached open water, discovering the Ross Sea

As they continued south, they made landings and claims at what is now Possession and Franklin Islands. They were first to see the Transantarctic Mountains and eventually reached Ross Island and named Mt. Erebus, the high volcano located there Ross then began seeing a white line across the horizon and soon realized that further progress south was impossiblethe Ross Ice Shelf

The shelf is about 100 feet high on the surface Higher than his ships masts, Ross was forced to turn back Planting the flag on Possession Island Erebus and Terror in the Ross Sea,

unable to reach the mainland Ross made two more attempts to go farther south the next year and the year after Both met with ice, storms, and near disaster Returned home in 1843 It was still unknown if Antarctica was a continent or a series of islands and no confirmed landing had yet been made on the continent

proper One other expedition from England from 1872-1876 with the ship HMS Challenger completed considerable scientific and oceanographic researchfounded the modern science of oceanography At the time of the voyage, no life was expected to be found in the sea below about 550 m in depth

The Challenger was a refitted naval vessel, sail and steam powered, and remodeled for scientific work with labs, dredges, etc. Route of the HMS Challenger, 1872-1876 While still not locating the Antarctic continent, their dredges and

geological samples from the ocean floor (granites carried by ice) convinced them that there was a continent Some of the 133 total dredges taken by the Challenger (in red) that for the first time located deep sea trenches and the mid-Atlantic ridge from soundings Sir John Murray, naturalist aboard the HMS Challenger One of over 4700 new species discovered on the Challenger expedition It took 23 years to compile and publish all the scientific work, in 50 volumes This work set the stage for the beginning of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration Quiz 1. What were the major contributions of the early voyages by Magellan, Drake, Bouvet, and Kergulen in the later discovery of Antarctica? 2. How did the voyages of James Cook change ideas about

Terra Australis. 3. What were Cooks contributions to sanitary and health conditions for men at sea? 4. Why is rounding Cape Horn in sailing vessels so difficult and dangerous? 5. What are the contributions of whaling ship captains William Smith and Nathanial Palmer to the discovery of Antarctica?

Quiz 1. What was the first truly scientific expedition to the southern ocean and its main findings? 2. Who likely sighted the Antarctic continent first and in what year? 3. What and when was the U.S. Exploring Expedition and what were its main findings? 4. What is the significance of the voyages by James Clark Ross

to Antarctic discovery? 5. What was the Challenger expedition and its major contributions? Why is Sir John Murray considered the father of modern oceanography?

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