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from its fragility, must be the sport of the waves and the currents; and, as one portion drifts away, another, formed on the same spot, succeeds. Similar revolutions take place after the breaking up of the firmer produce of winter, and continue even till late in May: hence masses of ice are met with, of various strength and magnitude, some being only a foot or two thick, which, formed by the spring frosts, are only seen in lower latitudes, during the early months; whilst others are fathoms thick, forming immense fields, which have been the produce of many winters, in more remote regions. Now, if such revolutions take place, much more ice than is sufficient to cover the Greenland Seas must be annually formed on their surface; and no doubt this is the case, demonstrated by the difference of latitude which exists in the winter limits of the northern ice; for the current, coming down through the east, carries along its course all the new produce; and, whilst the sea of Nova Zembla can scarce supply the waste, an accumulation of foreign ice takes place around Jan Mayen Island, and Cape Farewell, where it covers the sea as low as latitude 58°; whilst, towards Nova Zembla, all remains open as high as 78° or 74°.

4. Action of Attrition.-Attrition has been enumerated among the ice-destroying agents in the north; and, although Captain King, who continued Cook's narrative, esteems it as a principal one in Behring's Straits, it seems to be an inefficient one in Greenland. No doubt, during the gale, the heaving to and from may wedge each adjacent piece; and the collision of icebergs may overthrow their frozen battlements; but change of position alone is effected.

5. Action of the Wind-lipper.-The lipper, too, may act its part, and appears to destroy much ice in lower latitudes; but, far to the north, where the temperature of the water is low, its effects are trivial. Its little splashings undermine the margin of each piece, giving rise to many a fantastic form. In miniature we often see cities, towers, temples, trees, villages, and many lively representations of animated nature. This destroyer of the ice, insignificant as it may appear, is the source of annoyance to the mariner; for, as the superjacent portion alone is worked away, that which lies under retains its original extent; and, stretching horizontally, forms what whalers call tongues, which, from

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their depth, extent, sharpness, and hardness, often injures the bottom of his passing bark.

The causes above enumerated are those which annually destroy the ice in the Frozen Ocean. The chief of them are widely diffused; and, if their effects are such as I have noticed, I think we are furnished with matter sufficient to enable us to form reasonable conjectures concerning the state of those seas yet unexplored, which are to become the scene of our adventurers' investigation during the approaching summer.

According to the above sketch, we have the ice broken up by expansion and the tempest, and carried away by the currents, &c. If what has been said concerning the effects of expansion is correct,—if the dilating influence of the warmth of spring rends the ice in pieces, then the whole of it, independent of every other cause, will be traversed with fissures forming, by their circuitous routes, detached fields, which will be floated abroad by the currents and winds, and broken up by the waves, as soon as the sea to the leaward is open.

The opening of the sea is a progressive process. Early in spring the devastation commences on the great margin extending from Labrador eastward, and often, in April, reaches the north of Spitzbergen, and clears the western shores of Nova Zembla. At first the process proceeds with rapidity; for the young ice is easily broken up; and, during the first months, the storms are most frequent and protracted: then no fields are met with, but sludge, floes, packs, and streams, are scattered over the face of the sea. Whales, about this period, are generally met with in greatest abundance; for the interior ice, continuing close, forces them to remain where they can reach the surface for respiration. As the season advances, the atmosphere becomes more settled, and the stronger northern ice opposes more resistance to its effects; and now the current is the most active agent; hence fields become more numerous, which are seldom met with in groups, except considerably to the eastward, where they are largest.

As these large plains are drifted off from the main body, and followed by others, it is probable that, throughout the track of the current, the ice, being divided by fissures, may be more or less in motion; so that, by August and September, the greatest OCTOBER-DECEMBER 1826.


progress may be made in these seas, though such navigation must be extremely hazardous, as it can be conducted only through lanes and open spaces, where the mariner would be constantly exposed to be nipped among the closing fields.

To determine how far the Northern Ocean is navigable can be ascertained only by repeated investigation. The course of the currents, and the few facts we possess, seem to indicate that the farther we proceed the sea will be the more crowded, till, around the pole, all remains firm and fast. All the circumjacent ice is certainly yearly in motion, which, even in the opinion of Parry, may be sometimes navigable. In this he is supported not only by his own observations, but by the evidence of other adventurers. Whilst Heemskerke lay grounded on the ice-piled coast of Nova Zembla, when the season was far advanced, he was shagreened with the view of an open sea extending eastward as far as the eye could reach, whilst he was pushed on shore by the masses which skirted the land. The expedition fitted out by the merchants of Amsterdam, traversed an open sea 100 leagues east from Nova Zembla, in the 80th degree of northern latitude. Baron Wrangel, in a sledge, travelled on the northern ice for forty days, during which he reached a sea free from impediment; but ere he reached the coast of Siberia the ice had given way; and, after drifting for some time, he was fortunately driven on shore. Though the expedition conducted by Cook encoun tered an impassable barrier of ice, uniting Asia with America, preventing all access to the Northern Ocean, through Behring's Straits; yet the circumstances of this ill managed attempt render the result of less importance. The voyage of Deshnef shews that such is not always the case; for he sailed from the Kovyma; and, having doubled Skelatskoi Noss, late in October, amidst storms and tempests, was wrecked south of the Anadir in Kamtschatka; and the whole of the shores of the Arctic Ocean, bounding the north of Europe and Asia, has been explored, except that portion surrounding Cape Ceverovostochni.

If it were necessary, the evidence of other circumstances could be adduced, indicating that the ice is broken up, such as the history of the whale, the presence of drift-timber on islands of the Siberian Sea, &c., but what has been already noticed is sufficient for the present purpose.

From what has been said, it would appear that the breaking up of the ice commences in the Northern Atlantic in February or March, and that all lying to the eastward progressively follows. Much disappears every season, but the season is far advanced before the eastern ice joins the train; and long ere that has reached the Greenland seas, it is arrested by returning winter, so that leaving out the interception of land, and the impediment of adverse winds, the ice generated on the north-east of Asia may see many a summer before it is laved by the sea of Spitzbergen; indeed the disposition to move reaches the longitude of the Lena in August, and scarcely clears Skelatskoi Noss by October. Now, it is very probable that it may also extend to high northern latitudes, from the ancient fields that are sometimes met with. The farther from their source the more scattered will these masses be, and consequently the freer the navigation; but remote regions become more and more hampered, till all becomes fixed as terra firma.

Much light may be thrown on the nature of this country by the projected expedition, which no doubt will be equipped with all due deliberation, on that plan which past experience suggests. It is to consist of two sledges, capable of containing twelve men each, built of light materials, and of such a construction, that if water comes in the tract, they may be used as boats. These are to be provisioned for three months, which, with short stages, will allow the party to travel from Spitzbergen to the Pole, and back. In dragging these vehicles along the ice, dogs or rein-deer are to be used, which may be fed, partly on fish caught by the way, and, in case of scarcity, may serve for provision.

This plan is a modification of that proposed some years ago in the Wernerian Society, by Mr William Scoresby junior *, who, during many voyages to the Spitzbergen sea, had ample opportunities for making observations on the peculiarities of the Greenland ice. He, like every judicious theorist who indulges his fancy on the probabilities of executing his project, first conceives the nature of the tract over which he has to pass,

The very interesting details of Mr Scoresby's plan are given in the 2d volume of the Memoirs of the Wernerian Natural History Socety, p. 325.

et seq.

and then accommodates his means to its imagined peculiarities, and provides for every anticipated exigency. But as we are entirely ignorant of the real constitution of those parts immediately surrounding the Pole, the plan chalked out by the most sagacious, may, in very many points, prove inapplicable. So the first adventurer must necessarily be exposed to much peril, from unforeseen difficulties, whilst he paves the way for his successors.

Though the means adopted by Captain Parry possess many recommendations, yet such might not be impaired by some little modifications. If it is probable that the Pole is perpetually surrounded with immoveable ice, the following method seems to possess all the advantages of that which Captain Parry is to put in practice, and may not be entirely worthless, if it is capable of more extensive application.

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Instead of two, let the party be provided with three sledges, convertible into boats, capable of carrying only five men each, suitably provisioned; let these proceed northward from the place of rendezvous on the north of Spitzbergen. On the meridian of which it is probable the boundaries of the stationary ice may not be far distant, for the destructive action of the current, which, in more eastern seas, makes such ample breaches, is here, as in Behring's Straits, of little consequence, as it flows against the frozen barrier, by which the action of those agents, which would otherwise destroy the ice, is restrained.


Having reached the 84th or 85th degree of northern latitude, if the ice seems old, continuous and stationary, they could calculate on its being similar all the way northward. Then with safety one sledge might be left in charge of three men, with suitable orders for their future guidance. In establishing such a position, land would be of much importance, not only in so far as the comfort of these individuals was concerned, but the danger of any movement in the ice changing their longitude would be avoided, a difference which, if the party were left on ice not stationary, would require to be rectified by daily observation, lest they being drifted out of the way, should be missed by their associates on their return. Provision should be left sufficient for these, and to serve the whole party during their return from that latitude to Spitzbergen. The expedition might then


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