SCIN 136 FORUM 4in Science by Islandbuilt
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From about 1820 until 1909, there was a frenzy of exploration in the Arctic region. It involved efforts to reach the North Pole, the North Magnetic Pole, and Asia by way of the North West Passage. Read the following passage from Pierre Berton's new book, Arctic Grail, then answer the question, why did they keep going? "On April 3, having established caches and depots, [Isaac Israel] Hayes [U.S. Navy] set off for the Open Polar Sea with twelve men, two dogsleds, and one man-hauled sledge carrying the twenty-foot metal lifeboat in which he hoped to navigate the ice-choked waters of Smith Sound.
That he soon abandoned; a hundred men, he said, couldn't have got it across those narrows. Only at this point did he realize the magnitude of the task that faced him. The great floes breaking from the glaciers and permanent pack to the north had been driven south by the winds into Kane Basin [west of northern Greenland] and were now being squeezed into the confines of Smith Sound, creating a traffic jam of terrifying proportions. Hayes measured one floe that covered 24 square miles, rose 20 feet above the sea, and reached an estimated depth of 160 feet. He guessed its weight at six thousand million tons--a floating glacier, growing and expanding year by year as the ancient ice, hundreds of years old, remained unmelted and fresh snow accumulated and congealed into new ice above it. Why did the sea not freeze solid to the ocean floor? Because, Hayes realized, the downward growth of the floating mass was arrested by a natural law: the ice itself was the sea's protection, acting as a blanket to prevent the waters below from losing their heat."
Why did Hayes keep going? Also right now there are several nations very interested in the Arctic Ocean/ Which nations specifically and what's up there that anybody cares about? See the Time Magazine cover story Oct 1, 2007 (attached to the my other posting). Also if you get a chance check out the latest series of NOVA shows on public TV "Arctic passage about the Franklin Expedition and Hayes. Finally explain WHY a compass is just about useless in the Arctic area( hint: magnetic declination). Please read the attached art