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Nordenskjöld's Greenland Expedition 1


II. IN my report of the expedition of 1870 I drew attention to a clayey mud which is found in circular cavities, from one to three feet in depth, on the surface of the inland ice, net only near the shore, but even as far inland as we reached on that occasion. My companion on that occasion, Prof. Berggren, discovered that this substance formed the substratum of a peculiar2 ice-flora, consisting of a quantity of different microscopical plants (algæ), of which some are even distributed beyond the clay on the ice itself, and which, in spite of their insignificance, play beyond doubt a very important part in nature's economy, from the fact that their dark colour far more readily absorbs the sun's heat than the bluish-white ice, and thereby they contribute to the destruction of the ice-sheet, and prevent its extension. Undoubtedly we have, in no small degree, to thank these organisms for the melting away of the layer of ice which once covered the Scandinavian peninsula. I examined the appearance of this substance in its relation to geology, and de monstrated:—

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  1. 1

    Lately described by Prof. V. Wittrock . "Om Snöns och Isens Flora, Särskildt i Arktiska Trakterna." Ur "A. E. Nordenskjöld, Studier och Forskningar föranledda af mina resor i höga Norden." (Stockholm, 1883.) See NATURE, vol. xxviii. p. 304.

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  2. 2

    NATURE, vol. xxviii. p. 541.

  3. 3

    NATURE, vol. xxviii. p. 37.

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NORDENSKJÖLD, A. Nordenskjöld's Greenland Expedition 1 . Nature 29, 39–42 (1883).

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