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The limits of ice and Antarctica’s future

Still Waters

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In 1897, the former whaling ship RV Belgica left Antwerp in Belgium and set sail due south. It was the first voyage of what would become known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. It did not go to plan.

After a six-month voyage, they begin encountering sea ice. Several times the ship is caught in the ice for a day or two. A crew member falls overboard and is lost to the icy waters. But the crew presses on, making measurements as they go. Expedition leader Adrien de Gerlache records the process:

In our time, the data gathered by the scientists and crew of the Belgica is proving invaluable.


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