Australasian Antarctic Expedition

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The Australian Antarctic Expedition was an expedition from 1911 to 1914. It was led by Douglas Mawson and explored the unknown Antarctic coast in southern Australia. Mawson's experience of Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod expedition from 1907 to 1909 inspired him to take risks. During Antarctica, the expedition’s sled party covered approximately 4,180 kilometers (2,600 miles) of unexplored territory, while its vessel SY Aurora sailed 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) of unmapped coastline. Scientific activities include meteorological surveys, magnetic observations, extensive oceanographic projects, and the collection of many biological and geological samples, including the discovery of the first meteorite found in Antarctica. The expedition is the first expedition to establish and maintain wireless communication between Antarctica and Australia. Before the expedition, the accident prevented another planned innovation-the use of aircraft. The fuselage of the aircraft has been modified to form a maneuverable sled or "air tractor", but its use has proved very limited.

The expedition was divided into three bases: one on Macquarie Island, Antarctica, and the other on the Antarctic continent. Under Mawson’s command, the main base was located at Denison Point, about 480 kilometers (300 miles) west of Cape Adlay, while Frank Wild’s western base was built on the Shackleton Ice Shelf. Above, more than 2,410 kilometers (1,500 miles) west of Denison Point. The activities of the two bases on the mainland were hindered by high winds, which often made outside work impossible.

The expedition was damaged by the deaths of two members who tried to reach Oates Land: Belgrave Edward Ninnis fell into the crack, and Xavier Mertz was in pain. Lost on the return trip. Then their sled partner, Mawson, was forced to trek back to base alone; he missed the ship, had to stay in Cape Denison for a year, and participated in six relief meetings. The nervous breakdown of wireless operator Sidney Jeffryes made this stay difficult. When Mawson returned from Antarctica, he was welcomed by heroes and received many honors, including the award of a knighthood. Scientific research provided rich and detailed data-full publication took 30 years-and the expedition's extensive exploration plan laid the foundation for Australia's subsequent territorial claims in Antarctica.

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