Fridtjof Nansen

The discovery of the wreckage of the USS Jeannette inspired Fridtjof Nansen’s polar expedition from 1893 to 1896. Nansen saw in the location of the wreckage evidence that an ice drift exists in the Arctic. He conceived the idea of crossing the Arctic by allowing his ship to freeze to an ice floe and using the drift to move across the arctic. For this purpose, a special ship was built, named Fram (Forward). For three years, Nansen and his twelve-crewmember’s braved the harsh conditions in the Arctic. The expedition was extremely dangerous due to the cold (up to -30 degrees Celsius), icy winds, and polar bears. However, the crew also made some new discoveries: they were the first humans to measure the depth of the sea in the Eternal Ice using a sounding lead. The result was astonishing: it took 4,000 meters for the lead to reach the seabed. This contradicted all previous theories that suggested the ocean beneath the Arctic was flat. The depth of the Arctic Ocean indicated that the Arctic has a greater influence on the climate than previously assumed.