Deep Freeze: The United States, the International by Dian Olson Belanger

By Dian Olson Belanger

In Deep Freeze, Dian Olson Belanger tells the tale of the pioneers who equipped possible groups, made very important clinical discoveries, and demonstrated Antarctica as a continent devoted to peace and the pursuit of technology, a long time after the 1st explorers planted flags within the ice.

In the annoying Nineteen Fifties, whilst the realm used to be locked within the chilly conflict, U.S. scientists, maintained by way of the Navy’s Operation Deep Freeze, got here jointly in Antarctica with opposite numbers from 11 different nations to take part within the overseas Geophysical yr (IGY). On July 1, 1957, they all started systematic, simultaneous medical observations of the south-polar ice and surroundings. Their collaborative luck over eighteen months encouraged the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which formalized their peaceable pursuit of clinical wisdom. nonetheless construction at the achievements of the participants and distrustful countries thrown jointly via the IGY from jointly cautious army, medical, and political cultures, technological know-how flourishes this present day and peace endures.

The yr 2007 will mark the 50th anniversary of the IGY and the graduation of a brand new overseas Polar Year—a compelling second to study what a unique company complete in a stricken time. Belanger attracts from interviews, diaries, memoirs, and reputable files to weave jointly the 1st thorough learn of the sunrise of Antarctica’s clinical age. Deep Freeze deals soaking up interpreting when you have ventured onto Antarctic ice and people who dream of it, in addition to historians, scientists, and coverage makers.

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Additional resources for Deep Freeze: The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica's Age of Science

Sample text

Although all of these innovations had in some form been previously introduced, their systematic use changed the nature of Antarctic operations. Sir Hubert Wilkins, an Australian with American financing, made the first south-polar flights in November and December 1928, from Deception Island south over the Antarctic Peninsula. Thwarted by unusually warm weather that made the remnant volcano’s frozen caldera unsafe for takeoff on skis, the party had to smooth a runway on a spit of volcanic ash and switch to wheels.

Amundsen took pains to acquire every relevant experience and skill. As first mate on the Belgica, he had gleaned insights on leadership and preparedness from the mostly negative example of that unhappy ship. He perfected every piece of equipment, every article of clothing. He calculated every detail, especially food (to suffice between depots with a generous surplus), leaving nothing to chance. Scott had motorized sledges and Siberian ponies to Amundsen’s sled dogs, but the “motors” failed after a few miles and the ponies, copied from Shackleton, were a disastrous choice.

In 1914–1916 he braved the treacherous Weddell Sea in an attempt to sledge across the entire continent. But pressure ice trapped his ship, as it had those of at least three other contemporary explorers—including the Belgica of Adrien de Gerlache, which in 1898, without choice, became the first to winter over, in the pack ice of the Bellingshausen Sea. The ice eventually freed the Belgian party, but, horrifically, it crushed and sank Shackleton’s Endurance. 12 If the largely inexperienced officers and young men of Operation Deep Freeze could name only one explorer from the Heroic Age, it would likely be Britain’s Scott, who staggered to the South Pole on foot on 17 January 1912, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had planted the Norwegian flag there a month earlier, on 14 December 1911.

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