National Geographic : 1936 Jul
MY FLIGHT ACROSS ANTARCTICA © Ellsworth Antarctic Expedition HERE "OLD GLORY" WAS FLOWN OVER THE EARTH'S LAST UNCLAIMED LAND The photograph was taken after the flyers had made their first landing on the Antarctic plateau, November 23, 1935, in latitude 79° 12' South, longitude 1040 10' West, and had set up their tent. By raising the Stars and Stripes Ellsworth established a claim for the United States to a wedge shaped area extending between the 80th and the 120th meridians west of Greenwich, and from the coast to the South Pole (see map, page 4). The surface elevation at this camp was 6,400 feet, and the plateau extended with slight undulations in all directions. We climbed out of the plane rather stiffly and stood looking around in the heart of the Antarctic. There we were-two lone human beings in the midst of an ice-capped continent two-thirds the size of North America. Per haps this thought brought us closer to gether. AMERICAN FLAG RAISED OVER VAST AREA Suddenly I noted the fuselage was crum pled. Kenyon thought it must have been done on the take-off, but I had been writing my notes and had felt no jar then. Now I recalled that when we came down here I thought my teeth would go through the top of my head. We had been flying for 14 hours, and, as we landed, there was a slight haze under neath. Besides, there was the uncertainty about what kind of landing surface we might find. We fixed our position at latitude 79° 12' S., longitude 104° 10' W. We found we were 45 miles off our course. The Pole lay 750 miles south of us, Dun dee Island 1,550 miles behind us, the coast line of the continent several hundred miles to the north, and the Bay of Whales 750 miles ahead. It was here that I raised the American flag over the last unclaimed land on earth, comprising about 350,000 square miles. This area, extending from longitude 80° to 120° W. and from the coast line to the Pole, I named James W. Ellsworth Land, for my father. That part of the plateau above 6,000 feet I called Hollick-Kenyon Plateau, for my pilot. We set up our balloon-silk tent and took repeated observations, which consisted of shooting the sun with a sextant and getting the exact Greenwich time, then going into the tent and, with our tables and Nauti cal Almanac, working out our position. After getting one position line, it was necessary to wait at least three hours to get another line crossing it at an angle suffi ciently sharp to determine our exact loca tion.