Geographical Notes

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    A REUTER telegram from St. John's, dated September II, says that the steamer Kite, which left that port three months ago to relieve the Peary Expedition, has just arrived there, after having successfully accomplished its object. Lieutenant Peary, who is an engineer in the United States Navy, left America early last year in command of a small expedition consisting of only five men, the object of which was to spend one or more winters in Greenland for the purpose of scientific observation, and to make an attempt to reach the North Pole across the interior of Greenland. The commander of the expedition was accompanied in this arduous enterprise by his young wife. The winter quarters of the party were fixed at McCormick Bay, whence Lieutenant Peary travelled 1300 miles northwards over the inland ice, which he found to be in a favourable condition for his journey. After making some important discoveries, the explorer returned to the quarters at McCormick's Bay, where, according to previous arrangements, he awaited the arrival of the relief expedition. Lieutenant Peary, his wife, and his five men are all well. Lieutenant Peary's great sledge journey commenced on May 15 last on the true ice cap of Greenland at the head of McCormick's Bay, and at an elevation of four thousand feet. The explorer, who took with him only one man and fourteen dogs to draw the sledge, passed along the edge of the Humboldt Glacier and then across the feeder basins of the St. George's and Osborne Glacier system. On June 26 he reached the 82nd parallel. Here the coast trended to the north-east, and then east, and finally compelled the explorer to pursue a south-easterly course. After four days′ march, during which the coast still stretched south-east and east, Lieutenant Peary reached the head of a great bay in latitude 81° 37′, and longitude 34°. This was on July 4, and in honour of the day he named this opening Independence Bay. The glacier terminating on its shores he called the Academy Glacier. The land here was of a red-brown colour and free from snow, and flowers, insects, and musk oxen were abundant; while hares, foxes, and ptarmigan were also seen. On July 9 Lieutenant Peary and his companion started on their return journey, taking a more inland course, and in seven days′ time they were travelling over-soft snow on the interior plateau, at an elevation of 8000 feet. The explorer then again descended to the coast, covering thirty miles a day. He met the Kite, with the relief party, on August 4, near the head of McCormick's Bay, having completed his original programme to the very letter. The geographical discoveries made by the expedition include the tracing of the Greenland coasts above the 79th parallel, the termination of the continental ice-cap below Victoria Inlet, and the existence of glaciers on all the northern fiords. Many valuable tidal and meteorological observations were also obtained, as well as a quantity of material for the ethnological study of the northern Eskimo, including specimens of their costumes, tents, and sledges. The expedition brings home, besides a number of photographs of natives and of Arctic scenery, a large collection of the flora and fauna of the high latitudes visited.

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    Geographical Notes. Nature 46, 476–477 (1892) doi:10.1038/046476b0

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