by Yuri AVSYUK, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of Gravitation Laboratory of the Otto Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, RAS
In February 2006 the Oktyabrsky Hall of the House of Unions in Moscow brought together participants in expeditions to Antarctica on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of regular all-round investigations of Antarctica by our scientists.
Yuri AVSYUK - the participant of the 3rd Antarctic Expedition in 1957 - 1959, navigator of the caterpillar tractor train which in 1958 reached [he so-called Pole of Relative Inaccessibility being at a height of 3,720 m and in 660 km from the South Pole - Ed.
The meeting of people who have touched the secrets of the Blue Continent has become a pleasant and impressive event. Each of them kept memory of the things seen in the past and, first of all, the inimitable pictures of nature-majestic icebergs, gigantic penguin colonies, snowstorms, long sunny days and the nights with the aurora australis.
The main investigations of Antarctica started on February 13, 1956, when the Mirny geophysical observatory was founded on the coast of the Davis Sea. It was the first Soviet expedition to Antarctica. Mikhail Somov. a well-known oceanologist and polar researcher, was appointed head of the expedition. Of course, at that time nobody knew what this huge area is looking like-whether it is an archipelago of icy islands or mainland lost in the ice?
That became clear during our expeditions, when the trailblazers repeatedly passed the most difficult snow tractor routes-coastline and almost to the center of the Earth's South Pole. As a result it was found out: Antarctica with an area about 14 mn km2 , i.e. greater than the territory of Europe, is a mainland which had been gradually covered with ice since the Oligocene (35 - 40 mn years ago). The ice mass, having reached a maximum of approximately 4,000 m, loaded the underlying blocks of the Earth's crust ... Читать далее