AINA Logo
Publications

 


Otto Sverdrup to the rescue of the Russian Imperial Navy   /   Barr, W.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 2-14, 1 map
ASTIS record 10249
PDF

Otto Sverdrup, one of Norway's greatest explorers, is usually remembered for his participation, as captain of Fram, in Nansen's memorable drift of 1893-96, and for his remarkably successful exploratory expedition in 1898-1902, again in Fram, to what are now the Queen Elizabeth Islands. ... But several later arctic exploits of Otto Sverdrup's, although in some ways ranking equally as high as the better known expeditions, have achieved relatively little renown. One of these was his leadership of the search-and-rescue expedition aboard Eklips in the Kara Sea in 1914-15 .... it is fair to say that had it not been for Sverdrup, and had ice conditions in the summer of 1915 been more severe, the Russian Imperial Navy might have experienced a major disaster. The initial objectives of Sverdrup's expedition were two missing expeditions: those of G. L. Brusilov aboard Sv. Anna, and of V. A. Rusanov aboard Gerkules. Lieutenant Brusilov had mounted a private expedition to traverse the Northern Sea Route from west to east. ... The second expedition, that of V. A. Rusanov, appears to have been even less well planned. ... As early as 1913, some public anxiety began to be expressed in Russia about the whereabouts of the expeditions of Brusilov and Rusanov as well as that of Sedov aboard Sv. Foka, which had left Arkhangelsk the previous year in an attempt to reach the Pole. ... The almost impossible task of searching for Brusilov and Rusanov was entrusted to Otto Sverdrup, in Eklips. The whereabouts of the Sv. Anna were totally unknown; however, he was to search the coasts of the Kara Sea from the north island of Novaya Zemlya to the mouth of the Yenisei, and on to Mys Chelyuskina, and also Ostrov Uyedineniya .... She sailed from Christiania (Oslo) on 13 July 1914 .... By the 16th, she was already beset and drifting with the ice; this drift, alternating with occasional spells of independent progress ... continued until 20 August, when Eklips encountered unbroken ice, and for severalweeks further progress was blocked. It was here ... that around noon on 9 September, one of her radio transmissions was answered by a completely unexpected call: Taymyr and Vaygach located at the Ostrova Firnleya. ... This, as it turned out, was to be an extremely fortunate encounter for Taymyr and Vaygach, the two Russian Imperial Navy icebreakers of the Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition which since 1910 had been engaged in making the first accurate survey of the arctic coasts of Siberia as an essential preliminary to establishing a practicable Northern Sea Route. ... on 9 September, off the Ostrova Firnleya, Taymyr was caught between two large icefields, pivoting around each other, and was severely nipped. She received heavy damage .... Vaygach also suffered from ice pressures: she broke a propeller blade ... and was taking water at a rate of 3 tons per hour. ... It was in the midst of all this anxiety, tension and bustle that the Taymyr's radio-operator had chanced to pick up Eklips's transmission and had successfully made contact. ... But Taymyr's and Vaygach's problems were not over .... a wintering was inevitable and imminent. ... on 20 January, Eklips made two-way radio contact with Yugorskiy Shar. Sverdrup sent a short telegram to St. Petersburg with the details of the location and condition of all three ships. ... Sverdrup was informed that the search for Rusanov and Busilov had been called off and that Eklips was now assigned to helping Taymyr and Vaygach .... by noon on 16 September 1915, Eklips was making fast alongside the city wharf at Arkhangelsk, with Vaygach and Taymyr right behind her. The city gave both the Russian crews and Sverdrup and his crew a hero's welcome. Thus ended not only the through-passage of the Northern Sea Route by Taymyr and Vaygach, but also a complicated and well-mounted precautionary rescue operation, in which Otto Sverdrup played an eminent and worthy role. Finally, it should be mentioned that Sverdrup was to head further Russian expeditions and was to come to the rescue of Russian sailors again, but in the service of the Soviet rather than the Tsarist regime. ...


Waterfowl harvest by Slave Indians in northern Alberta   /   Macaulay, A.J.   Boag, D.A.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 15-26, ill.
ASTIS record 10250
PDF

The consumption of waterfowl by a small band of Slave Indians was monitored from May to September of 1966 and 1967 at Habay in northern Alberta. The Indians killed waterfowl by two main methods: with shotguns when birds were on the wing, and with clubs when flightless. In 1966 this food formed the major source of protein for the Indians over the spring-to-fall period; in August they consumed an average of 0.6 of a pound of flesh per day per person. In 1967 the amount fell to about one-quarter of this amount when the band relied more heavily on an alternative food source. The responses shown by Indian hunters to changing waterfowl densities are compared with those shown by predators to changing prey densities.


Dispersal of tritium in southern ocean waters   /   Tamuly, A.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 27-40, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 10251
PDF

Depth-distribution of tritium in Southern Ocean waters is reported. Decrease of tritium in surface waters from c 2 TU at 38 S. to 40S. latitude, to 1.3TU and 1.1 TU at 45S., 55S., 60S. and 64S. latitudes, are very likely to be associated with the presence of convergence and divergence areas at subtropical and subantarctic latitudes in the Southern Ocean. A tritium-free layer has been found to exist at intermediate depths. Significant increase of tritium in waters at and below 4 km. strongly suggests a younger age, a minimum of the order of 25 years for the bottom waters circulating in the entire region to the south of South Australia.


Winter food habits of ravens on the Arctic Slope of Alaska   /   Temple, S.A.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 41-46
ASTIS record 10252
PDF

Analysis of 684 pellets from a winter roost of ravens (Corvus corax) at Umiat, Alaska, indicated that during the winters of 1966 and 1967 ravens obtained half of their energy income through predation and half through scavenging. Microtine rodents provided the bulk of the predatory half of the raven's diet, whereas carcasses of caribou (Rangifer arcticus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.) were the items most often scavenged. The relative abundance of prey species in pellets suggests that ravens spent most of their time hunting in upland habitats on the tundra.


An ice drift measurement in western Parry Channel   /   Verrall, R.I.   Ganton, J.H.   Milne, A.R.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 47-52, 1 ill., maps
ASTIS record 10253
PDF

A description is given of the drift of ice in Western Parry Channel during the spring and summer of 1970. Ice-buoys, planted in the fast ice of this region in April 1970, were located at approximately two-week intervals by Canadian Forces aircraft overflights. The ice in M'Clure Strait drifted to the west, whereas in Viscount Melville Sound the ice drift seemed to have no definite trend. The drift after the middle of July, when the ice was broken was compared to the ice motion calculated using Zubov's rule. The comparison yields a respectable agreement. Also, information pertaining to the longevity of ice-buoys in both polar and winter ice is given.


An Alaskan Athabascan technique for overcoming alcohol abuse   /   Hippler, A.E.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 53-67
ASTIS record 10254
PDF

It is proposed that the basic tactics used by members of a distinct ethnic group to overcome alcohol abuse will be in part determined by culturally accepted methods of social control. These methods themselves will be based in large part upon the modal psychodynamic organizations of members of that group. In the case presented the Athabascans of interior Alaska tend to overcome alcohol abuse by adhering to fundamentalist Christianity which reflects their need for an external superego; that in the past took the form of a nearly absolute chieftainship.


The Eskimo drum dance   /   Arima, E.Y.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 68-69
ASTIS record 10255
PDF

The drum dance which combines the booming beat of a large tambourine drum with poetic song and dance is perhaps the most pleasurable and intense expression of Eskimo culture. This art is particularly refined among the Copper Eskimos around Coronation Gulf. ... Drum dancing used to take place mainly in winter, when the Copper Eskimos congregated for breathing-hole sealing, or whenever visitors from afar were met. A large snowhouse used to be made, performance outdoors being tabu, though not today .... Decorative festive dress was worn including at times a striped dancing cap surmounted by a loon's beak. Up to about fifty persons might crowd inside, the men forming an inner circle and the rest along the walls. If necessary, the yard-wide drum head of thin dehaired caribou skin is moistened to tighten it to give the desired rumbling resonance. The rim is a thin wood strip two to three inches wide with a handle attached to it. Large and quite heavy, the drum takes strength and practice to be wielded in one hand. Women can lower it for ease. Beating is done on the rim from below with a heavy foot-long stick, the men striking on opposite points of the hoop in alternation while women beat closer to the handle. To begin, the performer sounds a few beats as if testing the instrument, waves it up and down or taps lightly and rapidly on the skin from below. Starting the song, he beats the rim and lets the drum swivel to meet the stick. The audience joins in the singing, commonly led by the performer's spouse, freeing him to concentrate on drumming and dancing and to be transported into an exalted joyous state. With knees slightly bent the dancer moves around the small inner circle, shifting from foot to foot, sometimes hopping lightly. The music is basically in 2/4 time, and the simplest drumming is two equal beats per measure, the tempo ranging from about fifty to eighty measures per minute. A common variation is to beat strongly on the left side of the drum then stop the swing back almost soundlessly on the right. For more complexity this single beat measure may be alternated with the regular double one. Sometimes the heavy beating is suspended while the singing continues unabated. Also "rolls" might be inserted by lightly tapping the skin at four beats per measure. Occasionally the dancer whoops for joy. Carried away, he might continue for over an hour, passing from song to song with scarcely a pause. ... Copper Eskimos call a song pisik if the performer drums and alan if he only dances with abandon while the drumming is done by another or not at all .... Almost everyone has his own song, often simply new words to old tunes. Song alteration by substitution, addition, or combination of words is common, and a dance song usually strings two unrelated compositions together to last ten or fifteen minutes. A good part of the singing is done with burden syllables, e.g., ya-iya iya iya aiya iya iya ai yaa, meaningless but carrying the melody and rhythm. Short sections of words fit in for interesting verse structures. Metaphor abounds .... Most songs are about hunting, fishing, travel, or drum dancing itself, usually glorifying achievements or striking experiences. Other major subjects are shamanizing and social failings in shaman's and derision songs. Another kind, songs of the departed, are more sentimental and philosophic. Then there are non-dance songs of magical incantations for good weather, hunting success, and for invoking spirits. Drum dancing is an important focus for social life. It, together with the shamanistic seance which often accompanies it, is one of the few group activities which are not directly economic in consequence. Not only does it intensify interaction and sentiment within the local group, it helps establish relations with strangers. ... the drum dance should be first considered in its essence as the prime aesthetic manifestation of Eskimo life.


Airborne temperature survey of Harrison Bay   /   Hufford, G.L.   Bowman, R.D.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 69-70, maps
ASTIS record 10256
PDF

During 10 August 1973 while conducting an oceanographic program in deep waters off the North Slope of Alaska, an opportunity arose to make an airborne radiation thermometer (ART) flight to map the surface water temperature of Harrison Bay .... Little is known about the oceanography of the Bay. Yet this zone may well come under considerable, if not great, environmental stresses stemming from present localization of resource development and exploitation. This paper presents a summary of the results of the low-altitude ART flight. ... A Barnes Engineering Company PRT-5, 9.5-11.5 Infrared Radiometer with a field of view of 2 was used .... The temperature survey was carried out using 2 helicopters ... flying a grid pattern and measuring the surface temperature along the flight track. The flight was conducted at a nominal altitude of 46 metres, with a flight speed of 150 km/hr. Navigation was done by visual contact with the coast and by radar tracking from the Glacier. Clear, cloud-free conditions existed in the entire study area during the survey. Continuous winds (>3.0 m/sec) mixed the surface waters so that the radiometer measurements are representative of bulk temperature rather than the skin temperature of the water. The ART equipment was calibrated before, during, and after the flight. ... Contours of the surface-water temperature distribution of Harrison Bay are presented .... Two major features are exhibited: the lack of large river effluent plumes; and the penetration of relatively cold water from the west into Harrison Bay. The weak packing of isotherms (4 to 8C) near the Colville River delta indicates that river runoff was very low in early August and freshwater influence was restricted to near the shore. This was expected. ... the Colville River has a total annual discharge of 16 10**9 m of which 80 per cent occurs the first twenty days of June. During the rest of the summer, river flow is very low. In the second feature ... the 3C isotherm represented the boundary of the cold water and was accompanied by a sharp colour separation: offshore of the isotherm the water was green whereas inshore the water was brown. It is also interesting to note that the 3C isotherm paralleled the 5.5 metre isobath in Harrison Bay. Along the North Slope coast, surface currents depend largely on local winds, are highly variable (0 to 60 cm/sec), and may even reverse direction .... The wind is generally from the east during the summer and rarely exceeds 10 m/sec. However, from 6 to 11 August 1973, the wind direction was from the west-southwest at an average of 4 m/sec. This was sufficient to cause the nearshore waters to flow easterly, pushing the colder coastal waters into Harrison Bay. Assuming steady state conditions the magnitude of the wind-driven cold-water current was 12 cm/sec. The pocket of <4C water near Cape Halkett ... may represent an eddy. The surface water temperature distribution of Harrison Bay observed 10 August 1973 is probably unique in that the winds were blowing from the west causing the presence of a tongue of cold water to occur which covered a great part of the bay. However, the data should add to our sparse understanding of the area and point out the need for continued study.


Falcon research in Greenland, 1973   /   Burnham, W.A.   Jenkins, M.A.   Ward, E.P.   Mattox, W.G.   Clement, D.M.   Harris, J.T.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 71-74
ASTIS record 10257
PDF

... During the summer of 1972 a research team initiated the first in-depth study of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) in West Greenland. Eight eyries (nests) of this endangered species were located in an inland sample area of 700 mi. Detailed observations were taken of peregrine breeding behaviour at one eyrie. Seven of the eyries produced young, containing an average of 2.57 young per successful eyrie. This high reproductive rate indicates a healthy population, but analyses of 2 addled eggs revealed high p,p'-DDE as well as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) residues and eggshell fragments from 9 eggs showed a 14 per cent decrease in thickness compared with 42 eggs collected in Greenland before the introduction of DDT into the environment. ... The [1973] survey area consisted of 900 mi (2,330 km), including ice-cap, lakes, fjords, and other unsuitable habitat totalling about 150 mi (388 km). We found 10 occupied peregrine falcon nesting cliffs in the survey area in 1973. ... 9 eyries produced young. Of these 9, 7 were also successful in 1972, while another was occupied throughout the season by an aggressive pair, and at the ninth a lone female mildly defended the cliff. Of the 9 producing eyries in 1973, 1 contained 4 young, 5 contained 3 young each, 2 had 2 young each, and 1 held 1 young. This gives a total of 24 young peregrines and a production rate of 2.4 young per occupied eyrie, or 2.67 young per successful eyrie. These young were counted at advanced ages varying from 2.5 weeks to just before fledging. It is believed that all or almost all fledged. We found 1 occupied eyrie per 90 mi (233 km), or 1 successful eyrie per 100 mi (260 km). All young were banded with a metal band on the left tarsus and a red plastic band on the right. ... The colour bands signify the beginning of an international peregrine colour banding system established for quick geographical identification of banding locality. During the 2 summers, 9 gyrfalcon nesting cliffs were located in the survey area. We believe that at least 6 of the 9 locations were occupied in 1972. In 1973, 8 of the 9 cliffs were checked. Young were found at 4 sites. A fifth was observed from an aircraft and appeared to be active. Lone adults were observed at 2 other locations. Seven young gyrfalcons were banded out of 10 young found. One nest site was inaccessible and the young were not banded, accounting for the difference in number located and banded. The production rate per producing pair of gyrfalcons was 2.50 young. ... Our sample survey indicates that in 1973, as in 1972, the peregrine falcon reproduced normally in West Greenland. The slightly higher production rate in 1973 can possibly be attributed to warmer temperatures during the nesting period, as the summer of 1972 was unseasonably cool. However, the 1972 data on eggshell thinning and high DDE and PCB residues reveal that this population is precariously balanced, and severe reproductive failure threatens. Analysis of the 1973 addled egg and measurement of the additional eggshell fragments will supplement the 1972 results to provide a larger data base. ...


The Alaska Highway development   /   Bucksar, R.G.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 74-80, 1 map
ASTIS record 10258
PDF

Thirty-one years ago, in November of 1942, the Alaska Highway was opened for use as a military road. Built as a long-range defense measure, it was assumed that improvements would continue following World War II. Since that time, there have been many proposals to pave the road, but they have been blocked by political and economic considerations. The resulting highway had a good gravelled driving surface, but was rough and uneven. After the responsibility for the highway was transferred from the United States Army to the Royal Canadian Engineers, the terms of reference under which operations were carried out did not permit major road relocations. ... the alignment of the highway is essentially the same today as it was in 1943. The highway is Alaska's only land link with the lower forty-eight States and a major road serving the Yukon, yet of the nearly 1,525 miles of road, to date less than 400 miles are paved. The remaining 1,100 odd miles are at best a dusty and difficult ordeal .... With both United States and Canadian interest increasing toward the growth and development of the northwest, there can be little doubt that a paved road would be of substantial value to both countries. The present reaction to the issue of paving is somewhat a mirror of past negotiations. The federal governments of the United States and Canada are cool toward the issue, while local interest in both Alaska and the Yukon is quite high. ... Measures to improve the Alaska Highway have been periodically brought before the Canadian Parliament and the United States Congress, but a growing disparity of interests beginning in the 1950s, has made negotiations very difficult. ... The disparity in population and power between Canada and the United States has understandably created a defensive reaction on the part of Canadians which takes the form of sensitivity to any real or fancied slight to Canadian sovereignty. ... both countries now feel that the Canadian portion of the road would be better administered by Canada. Numerous bills were sponsored during that period for improving the road .... Subsequently legislation was introduced in the United States Congress which ... suggested an equal responsibility 50-50 capital outlay. However, the increasing cost-factor continually caused the demise of most proposals. ... The new bill [U.S. Senate Bill S. 2372] suggested that eighty per cent of the initial cost be borne by the United States as opposed to the 50-50 sharing proposal of two years before, and that Canada should assume the balance and undertake the general maintenance of the road. ... Similar bills were recently proposed and defeated in the Canadian Parliament. ... Subsequent attempts to improve the Alaska highway, or portions thereof, have been brought before the U.S. Senate, and have failed. ... it can be assumed that the tourist season affords the greatest number of travellers and accordingly the greatest difficulties (i.e. dust, gravel, mud, etc.). ... The travel pattern is uneven. There is heavy use of the highway in the south, and then the traffic pattern becomes very heavy again in the vicinity of Whitehorse. This seems to suggest that great numbers of travellers are using the ferry route as opposed to the highway. If this assumption is correct, then the paving of the 320 miles between Haines and Tok, and the 100 miles between Haines Junction and Whitehorse might prove to be less expensive and more beneficial to all concerned. ... The present traffic on the road averages 275 vehicles per day or 100,375 trips per year. According to the Alaska Department of Highways, paving the road will represent a saving in gasoline, time and wear and tear of over $4 million per year. It is also estimated that the anticipated minimum growth of travel will be ten per cent per year for the next decade. This means by 1980, the number of vehicles travelling that portion of the Highway will have tripled and the annual benefit will amount to nearly $10 million. For the entire period, the estimates are as follows: Construction cost - $43,200,000; Benefit - $70,709,260. The benefits generated by the savings will probably increase tourist travel. In turn this will necessitate increased facilities which undoubtedly bring a substantial increase in the number of visitors to the area. The number of tourists, however, should not be the major determining factor in regard to the paving issue. Whichever route may be chosen in the future for reconstruction and/or paving should be accomplished to serve the needs of the residents of Alaska and the Yukon. ...


Charles W. Thomas (1903-1973)   /   Reed, J.C.
Arctic, v. 27, no. 1, Mar. 1974, p. 88
ASTIS record 53523
PDF

Rear Admiral Charles W. Thomas, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) was born in Pasadena, California in 1903. On 3 March 1973 he and his wife were struck down and killed by a speeding car in Ushuaia, southern Argentina, while they were attempting to walk across the street. Admiral Thomas was well known in polar circles - both north and south. At the time of his death he was serving as lecturer and ice pilot on the passenger motor vessel Linblad Explorer, which was on a cruise to the Antarctic. ... He will long be remembered as one of the polar "greats". He was elected a Fellow of the Arctic Institute in January 1959 for distinguished scientific service in the Arctic. He earned Masters' degrees in Marine Geology (Washington University) and Marine Biology (The University of Maryland). He was a qualified oceanographer. He is the author of papers on such diverse subjects as sea pollution, undersea research, polar navigation, and ship handling. His well-known book, Ice is Where You Find It, was published in 1951. Admiral Thomas, following his graduation from the Coast Guard Academy in 1924, rose steadily in rank and in responsibility in the Coast Guard, until his retirement as Rear Admiral in late 1957. In June 1943, Thomas was placed in command of the cutter Northland, which captured and destroyed a Nazi weather-radio station, and established a Naval Station on Jan Mayen Island. The following year found him in command of the heavy-duty, combat icebreaker Eastwind, and of a northeast Greenland Task Unit. Eastwind pursued through the icepack and captured the German armed trawler Externstiene, and another weather station on North Little Koldeway Island off the northeast coast of Greenland. For those exploits, the then Captain Thomas was awarded the Legion of Merit. Capt. Thomas became the Commander, Greenland Patrol, early in 1945. After the war, in 1946-1947, RADM Thomas commanded the icebreaker Northwind on the fourth Byrd expedition to the Antarctic, designated Operation High Jump. His ship cleared the way through the ice of the Ross Sea for the Navy cargo ships. The following year, 1948, in the same ship he reestablished the Bering Sea Patrol that had been suspended during the war. Several other assignments followed, and in 1955 he was designated Chief of Staff, Antarctic Planning Group to implement the Navy's support of U.S. participation in the Antarctic in the International Geophysical Year. As that effort moved from the planning to the operational phase, designated Operation Deep Freeze I, Thomas was named Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander, Task Force 43. He was assigned additional duty as Task Unit Commander, Deep Freeze I. That assignment placed him again in command of Eastwind. Captain Thomas was back in the Antarctic again as Task Group Commander in Operation Deep Freeze II. The Group was made up of Northwind and the assault cargo ship Arneb. On his retirement Rear Admiral Thomas accepted direction of Arctic operations for the U.S. National Committee for the International Geophysical Year. There followed until his death a long line of diverse activities to add to what was already a full and exotic career. In 1958 he undertook the direction of a study of the Arctic Basin and its sea ice for the University of Washington. In 1960 he accepted a post with Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology. From 1963 until his retirement from the University in 1969 he was Assistant Director of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics. Later he was a professor of science at Nathaniel Hawthorne College in New Hampshire. ...


Arctic Institute of North America. Records from this database may be used freely for research and educational purposes, but may not be used to create databases or publications for distribution outside your own organization without prior permission from ASTIS.