Into the next forty years / Hodgson, G.W.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 1
ASTIS record 16766
Long-term readers of Arctic know that the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA) has completed 40 years of existence, and as Arctic enters its 39th volume it is undergoing a facelift .... AINA was founded in the aftermath of the last world war to serve as a repository of northern data collected during wartime, and more importantly to serve as a vehicle for peacetime research and scholarship in the North. Wartime science was principally data gathering in the hard sciences and technologies. During much of the first 40 years the tradition of hard science prevailed .... The editorial content of Arctic reflected this focus. Clearly, profound changes are occurring in the North, and the reality of these changes is penetrating the academic community as never before. ... To maintain some element of currency in the pages of Arctic, we are trying to shift the editorial focus to include significant numbers of research papers on sovereignty, native government, renewable resource management, communications, international militarism, housing, linguistics, government, and all those other topics of prime concern at this time in the Arctic both in Canada and beyond. ... In these days of staggering new possibilities in electronic communications, we must not overlook uniquely important new technologies. ... Scholarly journals have been around since the beginning of time ... and they serve their authors and readers well in completing the process of discovery and learning. The printed word is a durable vehicle of communication, and it will be with us forever. ... Arctic should be exploring means by which the new technologies may be applied in the coming decade. We can follow the obvious approaches of using electronic data transmission for manuscripts between author, editorial offices, typesetter and printer. Then we can develop on-line, full-text availability for readers as well as on-line abstracting. The biggest delays, however, lie in review and revision, and it is here that the greatest innovation may be practiced. ... Perhaps there is a role for Arctic to play in facilitating a total review and revision process by promoting an innovative system in which evolving manuscripts are presented in an electronic network. ... In most parts of the world academic work is largely isolated from the "real world," but this is not true in the Canadian North. ... the more the focus of scholarship moves from traditional science toward issues of people ... the more the academic information system overlaps with the real-world systems. ... Arctic could assist in establishing a new dimension in information management in the North by promoting an arctic network of discovery and learning, focussing on innovative processes of communication, exploration, criticism, revision and publication.
Pacific salmon in the North American Arctic / Craig, P. Haldorson, L.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 2-7, map
ASTIS record 18457
All five North American Pacific salmon species occur in small numbers in arctic waters, but only pink and chum salmon appear to have viable populations north of Point Hope, Alaska. Pink salmon are the most common species and constitute 85% of salmon caught in biological surveys. Pink salmon apparently have small runs in eight arctic drainages, while chum salmon may have small runs in six. Arctic pink salmon are smaller in size than individuals to the south but have similar meristic characteristics. It is likely that minimal use of freshwater habitats by pink and chum salmon has allowed them to colonize characteristically cold arctic rivers.
A nineteenth-century Mackenzie Inuit site near Inuvik, Northwest Territories / Arnold, C.D.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 8-14, ill., map
ASTIS record 18459
A small collection of artifacts obtained from an aboriginal Mackenzie Inuit grave eroded by the Mackenzie River is described. The site appears to date to within the second half of the 19 century, following European contact but before acculturative processes and population decline, which brought about the extinction of traditional Mackenzie Inuit culture.
Ice island calvings and ice shelf changes, Milne Ice Shelf and Ayles Ice Shelf, Ellesmere Island, N.W.T. / Jeffries, M.O.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 15-19, ill., map
ASTIS record 18460
Analysis of vertical air photographs taken in 1959 and 1974 reveals that a total of 48 km², involving 3.3 km³, of ice calved from Milne and Ayles ice shelves between July 1959 and July 1974. In addition, Ayles Ice Shelf moved to about 5 km out of Ayles Fiord. It still occupied this exposed position in July 1984. The ice losses and movements have allowed the growth of thick sea ice that has developed an undulating topography similar to but smaller scale than that of the ice shelves. It is suggested that regular monitoring of the coastal ice of northern Ellesmere Island would enable such changes to be registered and assessed, as they could be of concern to offshore operations in the Beaufort Sea.
Crushing of cultures : western applied science in northern societies / Gamble, D.J.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 20-23, ill., map
ASTIS record 18461
Western scientific traditions and technology are both vital underpinnings for the dominant culture in the Americas. Although only rarely acknowledged as such, both science and technology are value laden. Both define and are defined by a habitual way of thinking that is rational and hence "true." While this tradition of thinking provides a kind of intellectual rigor and strength, it can also be tyrannical. The unbending thought habits that provide the strength and rigor in the scientific tradition also give rise to intolerance that often crushes other world views. This paper highlights issues that exemplify the problems inherent in applying Western scientific traditions in traditional northern societies. Citing personal experience with the creation of a new town for Indian peoples in the north, and drawing from Western philosophy and psychology, the author raises questions about cherished values and beliefs that are often unconsciously a part of the Western scientific tradition.
Precalving distribution and abundance of barren-ground caribou on the northeastern mainland of the Northwest Territories / Heard, D.C. Williams, T.M. Jingfors, K.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 24-28, ill., map
ASTIS record 18462
An aerial survey with about 5% coverage of the northeastern mainland, Northwest Territories (342,000 km²) was conducted 5-10 May 1983. We estimated there were 120,000 ± 13,900 caribou (0.35 ± 0.041 caribou/km²) in the study area. Mean caribou group size ranged from 6 to 11 among nine strata and was correlated (r = 0.81) with stratum caribou density. We found four regions of high caribou density. Three regions coincided with the calving grounds of previously defined herds, the Melville, Wager, and Lorillard, and the fourth suggests a discrete population in the previously unsurveyed area south of the Queen Maud Gulf.
Permafrost distribution, zonation and stability along the eastern ranges of the Cordillera of North America / Harris, S.A.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 29-38, ill., map
ASTIS record 18463
Considerable quantities of new data have become available recently regarding the nature and distribution of permafrost along the eastern ranges of the Cordillera. These are used to produce an elevation view of permafrost in the ranges north of the 35°N parallel. In the south, there is a zone of sporadic permafrost up to 1,000 m in vertical extent overlain by continuous permafrost. The zone of discontinuous permafrost (30-80 percent of the surface with permafrost) is only about 70 m in vertical extent. North of 54°N this changes, with discontinuous permafrost encroaching on the sporadic permafrost zone. The apparent permafrost boundaries differ from those of Brown (1967), Péwé (1983a) and Cheng Guodong (1983). Their work was based on considerably less data, and it is clear that the terrain factors of mean winter snow depth, local moisture and ground water conditions, the distribution of the different air masses and cold air drainage have considerable effect locally, causing undulations and abrupt changes in the lower limit of the permafrost boundaries to about 56°N. Farther north, the climatic factors become dominant. The lower boundaries are different for a different latitude in North America and China. Subdivision of the alpine permafrost into stable, metastable and unstable classes is useful in indicating the instability of alpine permafrost (Cheng Guodong, 1983) and shows that most of the permafrost found in mainland Canada and Alaska is unstable or metastable.
Archaeological and historical evidence for an 18th-Century "Blip" in the distribution of the northern fur seal at Kodiak Island, Alaska / Clark, D.W.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 39-42, ill., map
ASTIS record 18464
Recovery of fur seal Callorhinus ursinus remains from archaeological sites on Kodiak Island, Alaska, shows a low harvest prior to late prehistoric and early historic time. Then there is a pronounced increase in the frequency of fur seal bones in refuse layers. Russian records do not show any significant take of fur seals from Kodiak, but by the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the next century there are reports that this animal, formerly abundant in the area, had become rare. This may indicate that conditions had reverted to their earlier prehistoric state.
Catch records of the twenty north Pacific right whales from two Alaska whaling stations, 1917-39 / Brueggeman, J.J. Newby, T. Grotefendt, R.A.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 43-46, ill., map
ASTIS record 18466
The North Pacific right whale population was hunted commercially between 1835 and 1935, at which time the species received protection. Commercial whalers harvested over 15,000 North Pacific right whales during this period, so reducing the population that today there are an estimated 100-200 right whales in the North Pacific. The American Pacific Whaling Company operated in the Gulf of Alaska and eastern Bering Sea during 1917-39. We report the distribution, sexes, and lengths of 20 right whales recorded in the company logbooks and ledgers. These records identify that right whale catches were widely distributed on the whaling grounds and tended to decrease over the May-October whaling season. Of the 17 whales for which sex and length data were documented, 11 were females. Their average length exceeded that of males. Lengths of the whales indicated that 41 percent of the catch were sexually mature; two females carried fetuses. Although the sample size is small, these results suggest that the North Pacific right whale population was inhabiting its historic summering grounds after the period of heavy exploitation in the 1800s, reproducing as late as 1926, and supporting a subadult cohort at least until the species was protected.
The Kuparuk pingo site : a northern archaic hunting camp of the Arctic coastal plain, North Alaska / Lobdell, J.E.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 47-51, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 18465
A single-component caribou hunting camp, located on a subsiding pingo near the mid-Beaufort Sea coast of North Alaska, yielded a radiocarbon date of almost 6000 years. The Kuparuk Pingo site revealed evidence for use of the Arctic Coastal Plain by peoples of the Northern Archaic tradition and provides a cultural chronological marker for indicating the potential longevity of pingos. Trade lithic materials from interior Alaska and the presence of bone refuse and bone tools due to the excellent preservation conditions of a pingo environment expanded the knowledge of these intermediate age cultural times in the North.
Research activities on the forest line in northern Finland / Kallio, P. Hurme, H. Eurola, S. Norokorpi, Y. Sepponen, P.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 52-58, ill., map
ASTIS record 18467
Forest line research is one of the main areas of study open to the northern research stations, especially numerous in Fennoscandia. High latitude environmental conditions make considerable demands on the adaptability of plants growing in the subarctic. Besides low temperatures, low light intensity and low energy yield are a challenge to autotrophs: the light rhythm is quite different from that farther south. Detailed mapping of the forest line is now undertaken every 10 years in northern Finland to study the climatic changes causing shifts in the limit. All 12 monitoring areas are situated north of the Arctic Circle. Similar monitoring may be started in other Fennoscandian countries in the near future and might prove useful for studying the effect of the general pollution of the forests. One of Finland's many northern research stations is at Kevo and belongs to the University of Turku. It is the site of the Circumpolar Forest Line Arboretum, where material is collected from all the circumpolar areas. There are three gardens altogether: one close to the station, and the others at a distance of some 10 km. They are managed jointly by the Kevo Station, the National Board of Forestry and the Forest Research Institute. Cooperation in northern research has a long history in Fennoscandia; for example, the project started during the IBP period for studying the northern birch zone continued the work begun by Wahlenberg at the start of the 19th century. The project deals mainly with the variation of the birch and other components of this northern ecosystem. Attention is also paid to the stimulating question of the co-evolution of the different organisms.
210Pb flux in an Arctic coastal region / Weiss, H.V. Naidu, A.S.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 59-64, ill., map
ASTIS record 18468
Seven marine coastal cores and one lake core were collected from a deltaic region in northern Alaska and analyzed for 210Pb. The 210Pb activity levels at the surface in all cores were less than the levels generally observed in coastal sediments of nonpolar regions. The attenuated flux of 210Pb to this region, as deduced from analyses of snow deposits, is probably responsible for these reduced activity levels. Yet the calculated flux of this nuclide to the sediments (about 1 and 4 dpm/cm²/yr in the marine and lake sediments respectively) is in excess of that accountable from the atmospheric flux (0.08 dpm/cm²/yr). Presumably processes such as advection of 210Pb contribute importantly to the sedimentary flux.
Modification by an ice cover of the tide in James Bay and Hudson Bay / Godin, G.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 65-67, ill., map
ASTIS record 18470
The tide in Hudson Bay-James Bay is mainly semidiurnal. Admittance calculations between a reference signal and the water level observed at some gauging sites reveal that in the interior of Hudson Bay-James Bay the tide occurs earlier and its amplitude is reduced after the formation of an ice cover.
To Great Slave and Great Bear : P.G. Downes's journal of travels north from Ile à la Crosse in 1938 [Part IV] / Cockburn, R.H. [Editor]
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 68-77, ill., map
ASTIS record 18472
The narrative of P.G. Downes's trip by canoe, boat, and plane from Ile à la Crosse to Great Bear and Great Slave lakes in 1938, in which he presents a detailed account of his feelings, thoughts, and experiences, as well as his observations on individual men and women, northern lore, and geographic characteristics of the region. The journal will appear as five installments in "Arctic".
Survey of vegetated areas and muskox populations in east-central Ellesmere Island / Henry, G. Freedman, B. Svoboda, J.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 78-81, ill., map
ASTIS record 18475
The results of 1981-84 summer helicopter surveys and ground reconnaissance of east-central Ellesmere Island are presented. This was the first systematic ecological survey to be conducted in this region of the Canadian High Arctic. Central Ellesmere Island is dominated by two large ice fields separated by the deglaciated Sverdrup Pass (79° N). Muskox migrate freely through the 70 km long corridor between the Fosheim Peninsula and some lowlands on the east coast, but large areas of suitable habitat were found unused on the central east coast. Muskox densities in Sverdrup Pass were comparable with those at other arctic sites, as were their reproduction rates (proportion of calves). Vegetated areas (>5 percent cover) constituted only 5 percent of the total surveyed land area and were largely restricted to coastal lowlands and the Sverdrup Pass valley.
Spiders (Araneae) from the alpine zone of the south and west flanks of Mt. Wrangell, Alaska (62°N, 144°W) / Cutler, B. Saltmarch, R.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 82-84, ill., map
ASTIS record 18476
A series of spiders was collected during a summer season from the alpine zone of Mt. Wrangell, Alaska (62° N, 144° W). Most of the species collected have also been taken from lowland sites in the boreal forest and the Arctic and have extensive ranges in the northern nearctic. Some of these species also occur in the palearctic. The dominant families were the Linyphiidae (erigoninae and Linyphiinae) and the Lycosidae, the only families represented by more than two species within a family. The other families represented were the Agelenidae, Araneidae, Dictynidae, Salticidae and Thomisidae. A phalangid and trombidiiform mite were also collected.
Observations of barren-ground caribou travelling on thin ice during autumn migration / Miller, F.L. Gunn, A.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 85-88, ill., map
ASTIS record 18480
In October 1982 we observed the consequences of migrating barren-ground (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) encountering lake ice too thin to bear their weight. The observations were made on a portion of taiga winter range of the Beverly caribou herd during autumn migration in the Northwest Territories. We observed caribou hesitating to cross ice that had no snow cover and also saw caribou breaking through ice. Bulls had greater difficulty extricating themselves from the ice water than did relatively light-bodied cows and young individuals. We necropsied one bull that we found dead after it had broken through the ice and remained in the water for more than 20 hours. The bull had died apparently from stress and hypothermia and had heavily traumatized areas on its forelegs and sternum from struggling to break the ice. We could not evaluate the overall extent of injuries and mortalities to caribou from their encounters with thin ice, although we observed signs that at least hundreds had broken through the ice on different lakes.
Fluorite from Princess Royal Islands : historic and possible economic significance / Gibbins, W. Boucher, D. Skublak, W.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 89-91, ill., map
ASTIS record 18481
Armstrong, physician and naturalist assigned to McClure's 'Investigator' (1949-52), reported garnet, a typically metamorphic mineral, in unmetamorphosed rocks of Princess Royal Islands. During recent visits to these islands a few crystals of purple fluorite were found near the northeast tip of the smaller, northernmost island. However, no garnet was found on either island.
A Soper record cairn from Baffin Island, N.W.T. / Stenton, D.R.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 92-94, ill., map
ASTIS record 18483
Two documents were recovered from a cairn located at the northern extremity of Nettilling Lake, Baffin Island. They record the details of J. Dewey Soper's winter expedition to Foxe Basin in 1926 and the travel itinerary of an Inuit hunting party.
John Bell (1796-1868) / Coates, K.S.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 102-103, ill.
ASTIS record 32619
John Bell, discoverer of the Yukon River and associate of Drs. John Richardson and John Rae in the Franklin search expedition of 1847-1849, represented the classic blend of fur trader and explorer. His contributions to the expansion of the Company's trade in the far northwest and to the cause of arctic exploration have gone largely unnoticed, due in some measure to his unassuming and modest character. ... His northern career began in 1824 when, as an officer of the reorganized Hudson's Bay Company, he was transferred to the Mackenzie District. In 1837, Thomas Simpson and Peter Warren Dease had discovered the Colville River on the arctic coast. Anxious to exploit this find, Governor Simpson ordered that John Bell, by now an experienced northern trader, attempt to locate an overland route joining the Mackenzie and the Colville. In 1839, Bell travelled along the lower reaches of the Peel River, looking for a breach in the mountains that would take him west. Though he did not immediately succeed, his reports of the excellent prospects for trade encouraged the Company to establish a trading post. Bell opened Peel's River Post, later renamed Fort McPherson, in 1840. On Governor Simpson's directions, he also continued his explorations of the lands west of the Mackenzie. ... The Hudson's Bay Company took an active part in the attempt to locate the lost Franklin expedition. In 1847, Governor Simpson assigned John Bell to assist with an expedition, led by Drs. John Richardson and John Rae, that searched the coast between the Mackenzie and Coppermine rivers. Bell's primary responsibility was to provide logistic support for the venture; during 1848, for example, Bell built Fort Confidence on Great Bear Lake as a wintering station for the expedition. At the completion of Richardson and Rae's journey, Bell returned to his fur trade duties and was assigned to Fort Liard. ... Many northern explorers rushed descriptions of their travels into print, anxious to share news of their discoveries and to bask in the fame due a northern explorer. Bell did not, offering lengthy accounts in his letters to HBC officers, but making little effort to spread his story further. He tackled these duties without the enthusiasm and sense of destiny that inspired other HBC explorers. He was, in fact, a fur trader rather than an explorer, both in talent and temperament. Throughout his northern career, he placed primary importance on the organization and management of the trading posts he commanded, and although he accepted the exploration assignments with few complaints, he preferred the life of a fur trader. ...
F.J. Fitzgerald (1869-1911) / Morrison, W.R.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 104-105, 1 port.
ASTIS record 32620
Francis Joseph Fitzgerald, veteran of 14 years' northern service with the North-West (later the Royal North-West) Mounted Police, and commander of the famous "Lost Patrol" of 1911, was born in Halifax on April 12th, 1869. In November 1888 he enlisted in the N.W.M.P. Except for a year's service in the Boer War as a sergeant with the Canadian Mounted Rifles, he spent the rest of his life with the Mounted Police, eventually rising to the rank of inspector. He served in the Yukon during the gold rush and was a member of the expedition of 1897-1898 that blazed an overland trail to the Yukon from Edmonton via Fort St. John, B.C., a journey that put Fitzgerald at the forefront of the force's most experienced men in northern patrolling. In 1903 Fitzgerald, then a sergeant, was picked as second-in-command of the government expedition sent to the Western Arctic to demonstrate Canadian sovereignty and halt the alleged mistreatment of the Inuit there by American whaling crews wintering at Herschel Island. ... After several years in the North, Fitzgerald took an Inuit wife, Unalina, "after the fashion of the country." He wished to marry her, but his superior refused permission. Their daughter, Annie, crippled as a child, died in her teens at the mission school at Hay River. What brought Fitzgerald to the attention of the world was an episode arising out of his service in the Western Arctic. Beginning in 1904, a mid-winter patrol was sent from Dawson to Fort McPherson and return, a distance of about 800 km each way over a variety of routes long used by the Kutchin Indians, to carry mail and show the flag in the region. It was no light duty; the trail followed a complex of rivers and creeks and went over some mountainous terrain. There was little game in the mountains, and in the flat, wide treeless valleys, deeply covered in snow, it was easy for a novice to turn up a wrong creek; thus the patrol always took along an Indian guide. In 1905 Fitzgerald was a member of the patrol on the Dawson-Fort McPherson leg, but he had never been over the route the other way. ... From the beginning the weather was bad. The snow was unusually heavy, making trail breaking difficult. Within a week the men were lost and found the trail only because they fell in with some Kutchin families, who set them right. Fitzgerald could have hired one of the Kutchin men as a guide, but did not - perhaps he did not want to admit he needed one. By January 2nd they had gone a third of the way and eaten nearly half their food. Then the weather got even worse; between the 3rd and the 9th of January the temperature averaged -46C, in strong wind. On the 12th they realized they were badly lost; Carter, the guide, could not find the landmarks. They had nine days' food left, and with luck could have made it to Dawson, fallen in with some Indians, or gone back to Fort McPherson. But Fitzgerald would not admit defeat and spent seven more days looking for the trail. It was not until January 18th, with their food almost gone, that they started back to McPherson. The weather continued foul. Snowstorms had covered their tracks, and on January 23rd the thermometer touched -53C on a windy day. By February 1st they had killed and eaten 8 of their 15 dogs. The last entry in Fitzgerald's diary was dated February 5th; on that day they were 115 km from Fort McPherson, but they had only five dogs left and were making only a few miles a day. The four men struggled on for another week. Between February 12th and 18th, 1911, all four died, three of starvation and one of suicide. On Fitzgerald's body was his will, scratched on paper with a piece of charcoal; it read: "All money in dispatch bag and bank, clothes, etc., I leave to my dearly beloved mother, Mrs. John Fitzgerald, Halifax. God bless all." ... Fitzgerald succumbed to misfortune and bad judgement - a fatal combination in the North.
Per Schei (1875-1905) / Dawes, P.R. Christie, R.L.
Arctic, v. 39, no. 1, Mar. 1986, p. 106-107, 1 port.
ASTIS record 32621
Per Schei, Norwegian geologist and explorer, died a young man. From 1898 to 1902, as a member of Captain Otto Sverdrup's second expedition in the Fram, Schei made his mark on the geological understanding of a vast region of the eastern Canadian High Arctic. Schei died before he could write a detailed report for publication, but by the time of his death, his status as a talented scientist and outstanding expedition man was established. ... In collaboration with Nansen, Sverdrup had decided to explore northernmost Greenland, and possibly to circumnavigate the subcontinent. Using the so-called Smith Sound route, Sverdrup was to direct Fram up the narrow channels separating Greenland and Ellesmere Island and winter in Greenland as far north as possible. These channels, now known as Nares Strait, had been explored by British and American expeditions since the 1850s. Sledge parties from Fram were to delimit the northern part of Greenland and to reach as far south down the east coast as possible. ... However, the Norwegian thrust north in the summer of 1898 was stopped by unfavourable ice conditions in Kane Basin. ... Another attempt the following summer to negotiate Kane Basin was thwarted by ice, and following this Sverdrup sailed Fram southward and westward into Jones Sound to spend the next three winters in southern Ellesmere Island. This was a fortunate decision: it led to the discovery and charting of "New Land" west of Ellesmere Island. Up north, it was left to Peary to prove the insularity of Greenland, in 1900. ... Schei took to expedition life quickly but not without mishap. After an episode of frostbite during early sledging on Bache Peninsula, which necessitated amputation of several toes on each foot, Schei developed into one of the most skillful dogsledge handlers and hunters on the expedition. His courage and dedication could not be overwhelmed by such small disabilities as a stiff leg, lost toes, and short-sightedness. ... Sverdrup's well-organized and coordinated team work produced results unsurpassed in arctic exploration; the group of islands now named the Sverdrup Islands - Axel Heiberg, Ellef and Amund Ringes, King Christian, and smaller islands - were discovered and mapped, and the entire western coast of Ellesmere Island and much of northern Devon Island were charted. Schei participated in some of the longest and most arduous sledge journeys, for example a trip with Sverdrup, during the final sledging campaign of 1902, northward up Nansen Sound to reach the Arctic Ocean and the northwestern tip of Ellesmere Island. ... The geographic and scientific advances achieved by Sverdrup's expedition rank it as one of the most successful in the history of arctic exploration, and Schei returned with a rich geological and paleontological collection from a hitherto unknown region. ... Schei's preliminary accounts appeared in 1903 in several languages, and these papers, although only a few pages each, were regarded by his contemporaries as forming some of the most important contributions ever made to arctic geology. Aware of the mammoth task of dealing with the extensive collection, Schei induced a number of specialists in Europe to identify and systematically describe the fossil assemblages. Only one treatise appeared in Schei's lifetime, but by 1917 ten geological reports had been completed, and Professor Olav Holtedahl concluded the four-volume work with a summary report based on Schei's diaries. One can only wonder how much greater Schei's contribution to arctic geology would have been had he lived. Professor W.C. Brogger noted Schei's decline in health early in 1905. ... Schei died of dropsy, a result of kidney malfunction that was thought at the time to be related to the four strenuous years in the far North. ... Schei can be credited with making the most impressive contribution by a single person to the geological understanding of the Arctic Islands prior to the advent of aircraft.
© 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.