A Setback for the Scientists

Published on 17.01.2008 - Norwegian-US Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica

The American-Norwegian expedition's traction vehicles have been having technical problems.

In the last bulletin, the Expedition Leader, Jan Gunnar, explained to us the difference in atmospheric pressure at similar altitude between the polar and equatorial regions.

This time, although they hadn't yet arrived at the pole, they have given us details on the tent of the famous explorer, Roald Amundsen; the one that the Norwegian used at the time of his return trip from the pole and that is now exhibited in the Fram Museum in Oslo. The tent he had left at the pole could be recoverable, writes Gunnar, but it would mean digging down into the ice to a depth of approximately 15 metres.

He also mentions that during an advisory meeting on the Treaty of the Antarctic that was held in Oslo in 2005, it was decided by mutual agreement that nobody would ever dig in that spot again. The tent left by Amundsen at the pole so that the English could benefit from it when they got there is therefore forever buried for History.

Apart from this information, the expedition has had to make an important decision; as two traction vehicles had been damaged and no longer able to reach the South Pole, they decided to set up a winter base very close to Degree 87. It's from there that the second phase of the expedition will be leaving next season.

As far as the science is concerned, the expedition has hitherto been a success. They have already dug, no less, the equivalent of 700 metres of ice wells.

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