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  • Did you know that Sverre Hassel declined to participate in a later expedition with Amundsen? | South Pole 1911-2011
    Ellesmere Island the experienced captain chose to explore new territories in northern Canada including Ellesmere Island and the Sverdrup Islands Peary was of the opinion that the Norwegians were encroaching on his territory and that he had a monopoly on exploration of the area Peary later claimed to have been at the North Pole in 1908 but this claim was later disputed In 1909 Roald Amundsen asked Sverre Hassel to take part in an expedition with Fram aiming for the North Pole during which Hassel s duty would be to look after the dogs Hassel agreed Before Fram arrived in Madeira in the summer of 1910 Hassel was initiated into Amundsen s secret plan to conquer the South Pole After some hesitation he agreed to come along It was important for Amundsen to have an experienced dogsledder with him to the South Pole and when Amundsen designated Hassel as leader of one of the sleds Hassel was very surprised but pleased Nonetheless he had his doubts about Amundsen s sudden turnaround At the end of August 1911 on a day when the mercury showed 60 C Hassel wrote If only we could postpone setting off until 1 November But if

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/did-you-know/2011-11-30-sverre-hassel-declined-to-participate-in-later-expedition.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Did you know that every direction from the South Pole is north? | South Pole 1911-2011
    GPS satellites The time coded and very precise signals allow the traveller s position to be calculated instantly with an accuracy of a few meters along with the bearing and exact distance to the point of destination When Amundsen reached the South Pole the navigation en route had to be done by dead reckoning measuring distances with a wheel trailing the dog sleds and taking bearings with a compass adjusted for magnetic deviation which is large and varying in the polar regions By the end of a day s travel the navigator could hope to be within a few hundred meters of the intended destination At regular intervals more exact positions were taken by means of a sextant a handheld instrument measuring the sun s elevation above the horizon The solar elevation at noon would give the latitude while the timing of the solar culmination with a chronometer would give the longitude Extensive nautical tables and complicated calculations were involved At higher latitudes the process tends to be even more complicated because the longitudes converge and the solar orbit appears more and more level in relation to the horizon Amundsen saved time and effort by not worrying too much about

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/did-you-know/2011-11-29-every-direction-from-the-south-pole-is-north.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Did you know that seven countries have claims in Antarctica? | South Pole 1911-2011
    Antarctica In 1939 Norway claimed a much greater expanse of territory namely Dronning Maud Land an area seven times as large as all of Norway The motivation for these Norwegian claims was the possibility of ensuring the right to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean Before Norway presented its claim Great Britain had already laid claim to most of Antarctica parcelling out the sectors between itself New Zealand and Australia and France had also claimed a large sector Chile and Argentina put in their own claims in 1940 and 1942 respectively The Argentinian British and Chilean claims overlap which has led to some inconsistencies Australia has the largest claim sector in Antarctica Australia France New Zealand Norway and Great Britain have recognised each other s claims However several countries did not recognise them and some countries USA and the former Soviet Union maintained that they had a right to sectors in Antarctica without ever actually making any such claims During the International Geophysical Year 1957 1958 twelve countries including the seven with territorial claims joined together in an ambitious scientific collaboration and as a result the international Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research SCAR was established This collaboration paved the way

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/did-you-know/2011-11-28-seven-countries-have-claims-in-antarctica.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Did you know that there are rivers of ice? | South Pole 1911-2011
    Photo Olav Orheim Norwegian Polar Institute An ice stream can be compared to a river because its velocity is much higher than that of its surroundings Ice streams are responsible for most of the drainage of mass from the Antarctic ice cap because melting in coastal regions is negligible An ice stream can be as much as 50 km wide 2 km deep and its length can span hundreds of kilometres Jutulstraumen is the most important ice stream transporting ice from Dronning Maud Land to the ocean It drains an area of 124 000 square kilometres corresponding to approximately 1 3 of the total area of Norway The ice in Jutulstraumen flows at a rate of about 1 kilometre per year Glaciologists need information about ice speed to help them understand the characteristics of the flowing ice and to calculate how much ice is being lost from the inner regions of the Antarctic continent Ice speed is measured by drilling holes in the ice and placing out aluminium stakes The stake is fitted with a GPS receiver and its geographical coordinates are determined with the aid of satellites If the stake s position is measured again after a specific period

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/did-you-know/2011-11-27-rivers-of-ice.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Did you know that the crabeater seal doesn’t eat crabs? | South Pole 1911-2011
    highly specialised for filtering krill and other crustaceans from the water Antarctica is home to six of the world s 34 seal species Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella crabeater seal Weddell seal Leptonychotes weddelli leopard seal Hydrurga leptonyx southern elephant seal Mirounga leonina and Ross seal Ommatophoca rossi Ten species of baleen and toothed whales have also been sighted in Antarctic waters several of which occur worldwide The baleen whales graze mainly on zooplankton which they catch by filtering water through their baleen Toothed whales hunt larger prey such as fish birds squid seals and other whales The most well known toothed whale is probably the killer whale Orcius orca which lives in both the northern and the southern hemisphere though most of the population can be found near Antarctica The killer whale is the largest member of the dolphin family and like most dolphin species they are sociable creatures They live in groups pods consisting of one or a few grown males and several females with calves Each pod communicates using its own dialect and these vocalisations appear to strengthen the bonds within the group Killer whales often cooperate when they hunt regardless of whether they are trying to

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/did-you-know/2011-11-26-crabeater-seals-do-not-eat-crabs.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Did you know that more and more tourists are going to Antarctica? | South Pole 1911-2011
    Øystein Overrein Norwegian Polar Institute In the past couple decades Antarctic tourism has exploded to become the most common human activity on the continent Cruise ships usually operate in the areas south of the South Shetland Islands and the northern parts of the Antarctic Peninsula Norwegian tour companies organise about 14 of cruise tourism and MS Fram which flies the Norwegian flag is one of the cruise liners the ply Antarctic waters But it is not only cruises that attract tourists to Antarctica The pristine and challenging terrain inspires expeditions and extreme sports such as mountaineering and skiing expeditions Antarctic animals cultural heritage sites and the distinctive scenery are important as providers of new sensations but the sites that are visited most frequently are also the most vulnerable Human travel in these areas can have a devastating effect on historic monuments vegetation and animals Accidents in recent years boats running aground shipwrecks have shown that Antarctica is a challenging place for cruise tourism and that far reaching demands must be placed on companies that operate there The Antarctic Treaty stipulates several forms of restrictions on tourism These include limiting the size of ships to a maximum of 500 passengers that

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/did-you-know/2011-11-25-tourists-in-antarctica.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Did you know that Olav Bjaaland was one of the best skiers in the country? | South Pole 1911-2011
    Hanssen Photo Norwegian National Library In 1909 Bjaaland competed in a winter sports event in France On his way to Chamonix he was introduced to Roald Amundsen who was in the area to prepare for some scientific aspects of his new polar expedition Amundsen was deeply impressed by Bjaaland s self made skis and equipment Bjaaland mentioned that it might be fun to be a polar explorer and Amundsen responded that Bjaaland would be welcome to accompany him to the North Pole It later turned out that they went south instead Upon arrival in Bay of Whales in Antarctica Bjaaland put up the pre fabricated Framheim hut together with the carpenter of the expedition Jørgen Stubberud Throughout the winter the two men contructed and modified sleds skis and other equipment On the attempt to reach the South Pole Bjaaland was sent out on a reconnaissance mission to pick out a safe path over the risky terrain Amundsen later called Satan s Glacier now The Devil s Dancefloor After nearly two months on skis and dogsleds Amundsen and his four men had made their way from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole about 2800 metres above sea level Unbeknownst to the others Bjaaland had brought along cigars and when they had raised the flag at the geographical pole and he handed out the cigars causing much joy The five men stayed at the Pole for four days in part to immortalise the event in photographs Amundsen s camera was not working properly and Bjaaland stepped in with his own little camera Bjaaland does not appear on the famous image from the South Pole the one with the four polar travellers standing outside the tent simply because he was the photographer Bjaaland was described as a quick learner adaptable and

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/did-you-know/2011-11-24-olav-bjaaland-was-one-of-the-best-skiers-in-the-country.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Did you know that seals work as research assistants? | South Pole 1911-2011
    2008 deep diving Arctic and Antarctic seals worked as research assistants for the project Marine Mammals Exploring the Oceans Pole to Pole MEOP Satellite transmitters and measurement equipment were glued to the seals heads and the animals swam thousands of kilometres and dived more than 2000 metres into the ocean depths collecting data all the way Every time the seals surfaced to breathe new data appeared on the computer screens of researchers at the Norwegian Polar Institute This unique method of data collecting gave the researchers information about the animals whereabouts and behaviour in addition to insight on oceanographic parameters in various parts of the world including ice filled polar seas that are not easily accessible to humans The data were used for weather forecasting and climate modelling and to chart ocean currents In the south elephant seals did the research and covered major segments of the seas surrounding Antarctica In the north hooded seals served as research assistants in the vast sea areas between the North Pole and the coast of Norway The measurement gear that was glued to the seals fur weighs only half a kilo a fraction of the animals weight When the seals moult which they

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/did-you-know/2011-11-23-seals-work-as-research-assistants.html (2014-09-28)
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