The discovery and the first studies of Antarctica

The discovery and the first studies of Antarctica

Antarctica was discovered by the last of the continents of the Earth. Even in ancient times, scientists guessed that in the high latitudes of the southern hemisphere there should be a large continent. His quest in his time led to the discovery of Australia, which was considered part of this continent. In the XVIII century. The search for the South continent again went to the English navigator James Cook. But he could not reach the ground due to difficult weather conditions. The way to its ships was blocked by floating ice and icebergs of the Antarctic. Cook had to turn back, and claimed that there was no south of the earth, but only ice covering the ocean.

Antarctica was discovered only in the XIX century. In search of the Southern continent in 1819, the Russian round-the-world expedition

on the ships “Mirny” and “Vostok” under the leadership of Captain 2nd Rank Faddey Bellingshausen and Lieutenant Mikhail Lazarev. In 1820 Russian ships approached the shores of Antarctica. During the voyage they crossed the Southern Circle three times and rounded Antarctica several times reaching its coast, but not landing on it.

A year later, the British sailors made their first landing on the mainland in the Antarctic Peninsula. Later, many expeditions from different countries, continuing the study of the continent, surveyed only the coast – the internal parts remained unexplored and seemed unattainable.

The first to penetrate into the interior of the continent was the Norwegian Rual Amundsen and the Englishman Robert Scott in the summer of 1911. The route chosen by Amundsen was 100 km shorter than the Scott route. Amundsen together with four comrades reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911, with dog sleds. Scott reached the pole a month later-January 18, 1912. On the way back, Scott and his comrades died, but until the very end they did not abandon their geological collections and other research materials. Only on November 12, 1912 the search party found the dead. As part of the expedition of Robert Scott was our fellow countryman – Poltava Anton Omelchenko. He managed to return to the coast with another group of expedition members, whom Scott had sent back before reaching the pole.


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The discovery and the first studies of Antarctica