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The first scientific exploration of the Antarctic dates to the end of the seventeenth century, when Sir Edmund Halley ventured just south of the Polar Front (about 60°S). During the following century, many scientific expeditions were undertaken to explore and describe the vast oceans surrounding the Antarctic continent. One of these expeditions, aboard the Belgian vessel, Belgica, provided the first winter scientific observations when it became beset in sea ice and spent the winter of 1898 drifting off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. About fifteen years later, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew overwintered on Elephant Island, at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by sea ice in the Weddell Sea. This expedition is remembered mostly for the epic rescue of the ship’s crew, but it did provide important scientific results (see Shackleton, 1919 and Wordie, 1918, 1921a,b).

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Oceanography, v. 15, issue 2, p. 64-74

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