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Norwegian Arctic Research

Nature volume 141, page 1050 (11 June 1938) | Download Citation



IT was some ten years ago that the Norwegian Government, having acquired by treaty the sovereignty of Spitsbergen, instituted a department to deal with the scientific exploration of Spitsbergen, Bear Island and other arctic regions, including areas outside Norwegian jurisdiction. This department, Norges Svalbard-og Ishavs-Undersokelser, under the direction of Dr. A. Hoel, has now published a record of the ten years of its activity (Skrifter om Svalbard og Ishavet, No. 73). Earlier Norwegian work was recounted in a previous publication (No. 1, loc. cit ; 1929). Almost every summer expeditions have been at work in Spitsbergen and East Greenland and occasionally in other islands, as Jan Mayen, Bear Island and White Island. In Svalbard (Spitsbergen, North-East Land, Bear Island, etc.) 560 sq. km. have been mapped on the land and 40,000 sq. km. from the air, and in East Greenland 9,200 sq. km. and 30,000 sq. km. In addition, large areas of the arctic seas have been charted and much oceanographical work accomplished. But no aspect of research has been overlooked, and the department has even erected navigation beacons and lights and introduced the musk-ox and the arctic hare to Spitsbergen. Winters have been used for working up results, and already the publications of the department number over seventy. The greater part of the cost is met by a State grant, but private contributors also help. The volume makes a fine record of careful scientific work.

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