Going with the Floe? An analysis of luck versus skill in the epic polar expeditions of fridtjof nansen and sir ernest shackleton

Stephanie Pfirman, Bruno Tremblay, Charles Fowler

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fridtjof Nansen and Sir Ernest Shackelton, two of the most renowned polar explorers, who traveled to the North Pole in two different times, have many things in common. Their ships were frozen into the sea ice and meandered, both expeditions spanned three years, both leaders left their crews at some point, and all crew members survived. Nansen had actually planned from the beginning to freeze his ship Fram into the Arctic pack north of Siberia in 1893. He got the idea after learning about various materials that were carried by sea ice from Siberia to the coast of Greenland. The ship of Sir Ernest Shackleton, decidedly not by intention, became frozen into the moving ice pack of the Weddell Sea of Antarctica in 1914. The Fram emerged from the pack 2.9 years after freezing in, nearly a year faster than the average time since 1979 of 3.7 years, indicating that the expedition was lucky in their drift rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages484-493
Number of pages10
Volume97
No6
Specialist publicationAmerican Scientist
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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