« back

British Library Exhibition Highlights The Lure Of The Arctic

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror

A few weeks ago a new exhibition opened at the British Library which showcases the lure and the dangers of the Arctic. With a particular focus on the Norwest Passage, and the historic expeditions to find it, the artefacts on display will include paintings, maps and even recovered items that used to belong to brave explorers.

Humans have always had an affinity with the Arctic region; marvelling at its magic and beauty. However, it can also be very dangerous and unforgiving at times. This is something that the legendary explorer John Franklin found out when he set sail in 1845 and perished along with 129 of his crew. A couple of months ago we brought you the news that one of the ships used during this exploration, HMS Erebus, has recently been discovered and this exhibition offers the chance to delve deeper into the mystery.

Father Christmas and Fool’s Gold

Santa On Sleigh In Sky

Amongst the items on display will be some genuine artefacts that were recovered during the subsequent expeditions that went in search of Franklin. These include medals and pocket watches that could well belong to the valiant men that lost their lives during this fabled trip. Visitors to the British Library can also see works of art that were painted by men whilst on Arctic expeditions, the story of how John Frobisher discovered what we now know as ‘Fool’s Gold’, and why we have come to associate the North Pole with one very famous, jolly resident – Father Christmas.

The British Library is situated in the heart of London; directly adjacent to St Pancras International train station. The temporary ‘Lines in the Ice’ exhibition will run until the 29th of March 2015 and is free for everyone to enjoy.

Antarctic AUVs

Underwater ROV

Whilst this exciting exhibition focusses on ice in the Artic, scientists have recently discovered that the ice which surrounds the Antarctic is thicker than originally thought. Until now, technology and access to these important areas has been limited, but an ingenious piece of equipment known as ‘SeaBed’ has now made more detailed observations possible.

SeaBed is an autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, and is one of the only robots of its kind capable of focussing upwards on the ice rather than down onto the ocean floor. The data SeaBed collected shows that ice thickness around the great white continent is up to 16 metres thick in some places but averages between 1.4 and 5.5 metres in thickness.

This information will be used to try and understand the changes that are happening to the ice floes in the Polar Regions. This includes fluctuations in their volume and their thickness and will hopefully tell us how severe the impact of global warming is at the poles. It is hoped that future research can be aided by many more AUVs so that the whole of Antarctica can be monitored at one time. At the moment, the data being processed by the combined UK, US and Australian team carrying out the experiments has only been collected from relatively small areas around the Weddell and Bellingshausen Seas and Wilkes Land.

If the British Library exhibition has fuelled your own desires to explore the Arctic region then Fred.\ can help you find the perfect trip. Call us today for more information or submit an online enquiry.