National Geographic : 1956 Feb
Scott at South Pole: + Triumph and Defeat Capt. Robert F. Scott (standing, center) and his companions reached the Pole January 18, 1912. They found a tent of the Roald Amundsen party, which attained the Pole December 14, 1911. All in the British party died on the re turn trek. Standing: Capt. L. E. C . Oates, Scott, and Edgar Evans. Seated: Lt. H . R. Bowers, Dr. E . A. Wilson. 291 © Herbert G. Ponting +Mount Erebus Smokes in a Land of Ice Erebus, a 13,200-foot volcano on Ross Island, was discovered by Sir James C. Ross in 1841 and named for one of his ships; Britons climbed it in 1908. The U. S . Navy is building an air base on Victoria Land, just across McMurdo Sound from Erebus, to support scientific stations in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (map, page 288). Men and dogs in this view participated in Scott's expedition. His cameraman made the picture. The surface of the earth, spottily afflicted by earthquakes, floods, volcanic activity, and avalanches, is of course the foundation of man's physical environment, which the IGY is dedicated to explore. Yet men live, work, and play at the bottom of an ocean of air. Radio communication Sand radio aids to navigation are affected by variable conditions in this atmospheric sea. The air may be thought of as a filter, too, protecting man by absorbing rays from outer space that would prove deadly if his body received their total charge. The IGY will emphasize upper-air explora tion in an effort to increase our limited knowl edge of the top half of our atmosphere. One unsolved puzzle, for example, concerns a tremendous, invisible tug of war that goes on endlessly, high in the sky. The average temperature difference between the hot tropics and the cold poles, resulting from unequal heating by the sun, represents a daily energy transport across the 40° latitude belt equal to the explosion of four and a half million atom bombs. Eddies and whirls of atmos phere, in the form of "highs" and "lows," some covering areas as large as the United States, transfer this huge amount of power northward.