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ANTARCTIC RESEARCH

Fresh impetus will be given to Antarctic exploration by the news of the safe arrival at Cape Adair (sic), Victorialand, February 28, of the expedition led by Captain Borchgrevink, which left England in the steam whaler Southern Cross in August last. The vessel reported at Hobart Town last December, and in a letter mailed from a New Zealand port on its return early last month, Borchgrevink states that he had been safely landed on Antarctic continent, almost due south of Australia, with his staff and equipment, and so is, presumably, now engaged in active research. Means for the expedition were provided by Sir George Newnes; and although it is said not to have been fitted out in a way to give promise of the best scientific results from the undertaking, it can scarcely fail, in view of the foothold it has secured, to increase our knowledge of the unknown area round the South pole. It is, moreover, the second expedition now at work in that quarter, the Belgian party under Lieutenant De Gerlache being reported by Dr. Cook, the only American member, a few weeks ago, as still continuing its explorations. This expedition sailed in the Belgica a year before Borchgevink(sic) left England, with the same destination in view, but owing to the failure of the vessel to return to an Australian port last spring, as intended, had by many been given up as lost. But Dr. Cook in his meagre telegram from Montevideo, says that the party did not go to Victorialand, but explored the Weddell sea, which is southeastward of Cape Horn, and the inference is that after obtaining fresh supplies, it has resumed work in that quarter. The despatch (sic) leaves no doubt as to the value of the discoveries thus far made, stating that new land with volcanos was found, which would almost indicate that the party pushed further south than Weddell in 1823, or Ross in 1843. As Ross and Weddell conducted the only explorations ever before made in the Antarctic region lying below Cape Horn, the discoveries of Gerlache are the first made there for more than half a century, and mark the attainment of a point beyond any reached by former explorers, else the new lands would certainly have been reported by them. It is true that to penetrate beyond the 74th degree of south latitude may not seem a great feat when the 80th degree of north latitude is so easily reached, but it must be borne in mind that the Antarctic ice extends to a much lower latitude than the Arctic, and that the 74th degree is 1,200 miles south of Cape Horn. Meantime preparation for the equipment of a German Antarctic expedition, aided by the government and to start in 1900, is being pushed forward, and the pledge of £25,000 by Mr. L.W. Longstaff has, with the funds already raised, also made possible the despatch of a similar expedition by the British Royal Geographical Society. The latter will, presumably, be limited to one vessel, but by dividing the ground to be covered with the Berlin Society, and conducting operations under a common plan, a substantial addition to our knowledge of the greatest unknown area on the globe may be gained. The suggestion is already made that the German expedition should work on the Atlantic side of the Antarctic and the British on the Pacific side, stations being established by each from which advance shall be made into the interior. These details will no doubt be arranged later on, and a determined effort made to explore the largest portion of man's estate respecting which there is no exact information.

Reproduced with permission: L.L. Dyche, Explorations (Newspaper Clippings Related to Polar Exploration), Vol. 1 & 2. University Archives, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, KS.

 

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Original Source:
  The New York Observer, New York, NY. May 11, 1899.  
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Transcriber: 
  Jennifer Holvoet, University of Kansas.  
 
  Would you like to do a transcription for us? If so contact us at admin@ku-prism.org.   
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