National Geographic : 1947 Oct
487 Our Navy Explores Antarctica When we asked him where he was going, he said, "Back to . Little America, of course. This area and this engine don't fit together, and I'm sorry the war is over." However, in a little while the engine appeared to be O. K.; so we headed eastward, and again we were exploring virgin areas every mile of the way. Beneath us was either the shelf ice or ice-covered lowlands. As we continued eastward, great block-shaped mountains that were quite isolated came into view. Some of them were very high, but were covered with clouds, and we could not esti mate their altitude. An Important Geographic Problem The great mountain range continued on in a direction south of east, and after flying about 70 miles I had the im pression that this range might continue for hundreds of miles. If the area under us was shelf ice, it would not be impossible for it to continue until it con nected with the Weddell Sea, which would mean there are two continents at the bottom of the world instead of one. To determine whether or not this sea connection exists is one of the most important explora tion problems left in the world to be solved. I made the solu tion of this problem, and not the flight beyond the Pole, the first objective of the expedition. During our too-short stay at Little America we sent flight after flight out in that direction, and, though many major dis coveries were made, we still have not got the answer. On my other expeditions we attempted again and again to solve this problem, only to be baffled by the thick weather that exists in that area. The great question is, Was there shelf ice under us, as it ap peared to be, and did it extend on to the Weddell Sea? Or was low land under the snow? Clinging Tightly, a Photographer Is 60-foot Crevasse Hauled Up from a Depths of these natural mantraps vary, but some appear to be bottomless. First Lt. H. H. Anglin, Marine Corps photographer, de scended with the aid of the knotted rope to take pictures deep in this typical crevasse. In such lairs live Weddell seals during the bitter cold Antarctic night. Their peculiar calls have been heard from far beneath the surface (pages 501 and 512).