Using the Blog

I am using this Blog to talk about my Web Site - Scott's Northern Party 1911-1913 - - and about items of interest relating to it. From time to time, as I find new material, I will update the existing web pages. When this happens, I shall use this Blog to let you know of significant changes.


Sketch Interpretation: Looking towards Mt. Melbourne by Victor Campbell.

The following is my interpretation of the Victor Campbell sketch titled ‘View from Mt. North of Boomerang Glacier showing route we first proposed taking’. The sketch resides in the Victor Campbell Archive held in the Queen Elizabeth II  Library at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Fig 1 -  The sketch drawn by Victor Campbell on 19 January, 1912
From Campbell’s diary we know that on 19 January, 1912 the Northern Party was  blocked from preceding any further up the Browning Pass by steep ice falls.   Here, Campbell and Priestley climbed the north side slopes to obtain a better view of the way ahead.  The sketch  drawn during the climb shows  the view looking NNE towards Mount Melbourne.  

The writing on the sketch starting from the top left and rotating clockwise is:
  • Black rocky ridge;
  • Wood Bay;
  • Mt. Melbourne;
  • Pass I had hoped to get over to Wood Bay; 
  • Ice falls + broken ice doubtful if sledges could be got over;
  • Melbourne and arrow (this point down the Browning Pass which at the time they referred to as the Melbourne Glacier);
  • View from Mt. North of Boomerang Glacier showing route we first proposed taking
  • slightly crevassed  too steep to get sledges over.
  • Ice slopes below rock ridges;
  • Ridges Priestley climbed Ice slopes below Rock ridges.
 I determined the position from where the sketch was drawn using Campbell’s diary entry for the15 January, and using Google Earth  to  match some of the features from the sketch to features in the satellite photographs.  The following image demonstrates the method used.

Fig 2 - Image from Google Earth
This Google Earth image shows Mt. Melbourne (top right), the top of the Browning Pass, and the Boomerang Glacier (bottom left). Marked on the image are four points from the sketch( yellow pins), the angle of view (blue triangle), and the area obscured by higher intervening land (green free hand enclosure).

The position from where Campbell made the sketch is indicated by the apex of the triangle.  From this location Campbell is looking across some high land and sees ice-falls and broken ice (centre of Google Earth image outside the green enclosure, but inside the blue angle of view line), then Mt. Melbourne, just as he sketched.

From this position, it is possible to check what  Campbell and Priestley could have seen or more importantly what they could not see.  Once again, using Google Earth and looking at the elevation of intervening land, I have been able to plot  the approximate area that was hidden from their view.  This was done by drawing lines radiating from their position and  studying cross section elevations.  

One such plot is shown using the ‘Show elevation profile’ option in Google Earth. 

Fig 3 - Google Earth image including elevation plot
 The line marked Visible1a and 1b is drawn from Campbell’s location. The elevations along this line was generated within Google Earth.  On the elevation plot, a line is drawn from Campbell’s position touching the next highest point and extended out until it again touches land (sea in this case).  These two points are then marked on image (balloons with numbers). The space between these two points is hidden to the observer.

As shown in the next image, repeating this process allows the plot of the area that was not visible to Campbell and Priestley because of the intervening terrain.

Fig 4 - Google Earth image showing obscured area.
 The green enclosure is that area hidden from view and again the apex of the triangle is their position.  The inner green plot encloses some elevated terrain that would have be visible.

My Conclusions
First, the sketch was drawn on 19 January, 1912.

Secondly, looking at the area that was hidden from them, it can  be seen that from their position:
  1. they could see a glacier (they referred to as the Melbourne Glacier) flowing down towards the pass they had come up;
  2. they could not see the glacier continuing past them to the sea.

Fig 5 -Map of the area
Thus even though they were now much closer to the glacier, they had nothing to indicate that their first impression on leaving the Terra Nova  was wrong.  They still thought, as shown on the map, that a large glacier flowed from Mount Melbourne, around the west side,  down the pass they had just travelled along, then joint with other glaciers exiting to the sea at Hell’s Gate or beyond.  They were under the impression that for the last few days they had been on this glacier they referred to as the Melbourne Glacier.


Photograph Interpretation: entrance Boomerang Glacier

The following is my interpretation of photograph  p48-14-173 from the SPRI – Freezeframe  collection .

My description of scene.

A view, across the entrance to the Boomerang Glacier and south down the  Browning Pass, from high on the  northern side of the entrance to the glacier.  Mount Abbott can be seen as the highest peak in the centre top of the picture.  This photograph was taken, by Levick, on the 20 January, 1912  during the climb by Campbell, Levick, and  Dickason.  The photograph also shows the position where on the 12 January the Northern Party camped during their travel up the Browning Pass.  The campsite was near the end of the curved moraine in the centre of the photo.

FreezeFrame Documentation accompanying the photo.

Reference: P48/14/173
Title: Boomerang Glacier
Description: glass plate negative
Collection: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 (Levick Collection)
Summary text: View looking down on glacier.
Date: 1912
Keywords: glaciers
Location: Antarctica, Ross Dependency
Photographer: Levick, George Murray

Position from where the photo was taken.
The following two illustrations show five features marked on the photograph and  their corresponding position on a Google Earth view of the Boomerang  Glacier– Browning Pass junction.

Included  on the second image are the solid red lines representing the camera’s angle of view. The peak in the centre top, marked D, is Mount Abbott.  These two images show the photograph was taken from the heights above the northern side of the Boomerang Glacier. 

Date Photo was taken.
 The  photograph was taken  on 20 January, 1912.  On this date  the Northern Party had split up into two groups, one lead by Priestley and the other by Campbell. Campbell’s group climbed  the northern  side of the entrance to the Boomerang Glacier.  This is the only time such a climb is mentioned.

The Photographer.
Levick.  With Campbell that day was Levick and  Dickason.  Levick being the photographer it is reasonable to assume he was the photographer.

Associated photos
Other photos taken during the climb and from roughly the same position are:
 P48-14-171,  P48-14-172.
Photographs taken at the glacier level and including the entrance to the Boomerang Glacier are: P48-14-115, P54-16-271, P54-16-272, P54-16-386kk.


Victor Campbell's sketch of the Mount Nansen Range

When and where?
The following panoramic  sketch, can be found in Campbell’s hand written diary opposite the entries for 9 and 10 January 1912.  This diary is part of the Victor Campbell Archive held at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.   When looking at the sketch,  we see the names, Mossyface, Pinetree, or Cape Sastrugi—these, except for Mossyface were to be coined much later.  Had Campbell (or someone else) put the sketch beside the wrong diary entries?
Figure 1 - Campbell's panoramic sketch  from Cape MossyFace around past the Priestly Glacier to
the Reeves Galcier (MUN Victor Campbell's Archive).
 The coverage of Campbell’s panoramic drawing  can be explained  with the aid of the four Coloured lines and numbers placed on both the sketch and map.  These markings help to locate sections from the sketch to regions on the map.

Figure 2 - Map showing areas included in the sketch.
Campbell does not mention in his diaries when he drew the sketch.  If now we want to know the date it is important to determine where he was when the sketch was drawn.  I have tried using the same technique that has proven useful with photographs.
This is to:
  1. Select particular features in the picture; 
  2. Measure the distance between the features; 
  3. Convert these to a simple ration; 
  4. Use Google Earth to locate these features; 
  5. Draw a line passing  through the features such that the separations have the same ratios.

    In the case of this sketch, it was difficult to pin point the area accurately.  However, it became clear that to be able to see:
    1.    Cape Mosyface, Cape Sastrugi, and the Black ridge so close together Campbell must have been south of Cape Mosyface with an acute angle of view to the north;
    2.    Pinetree (Priestley) Glacier, and the mountains and cliffs to the West without seeing Vegetation Island then Campbell was North of the Island;
    3.    The cliffs on the north side of the Reeves Glacier such that the forward lower and the higher rear peaks were in line puts straight across from this cliff.

    Figure 3 - A  Google Earth photo showing Inexpressible Island to the Pinetree (Priestley) Glacier in the North and Melbourne Glacier (Browning Pass) in the east to the Reeves Glacier in the West.

    In addition from Campbell’s diaries he was in the area where the sketch was drawn on the night 9 January  on the outward journey and again on the nights  4 and 5 February  when returning. Although he makes no mention in his diary of making the sketch on either of these stops. As he was suffering from snow blindness during his stay in February it is reasonable to assume the sketch was made on January, 9.  Also from the diaries:

    • Campbell writes on 4 February  We camped to-night about 6 miles off the main depot’;
    • Priestley in his book states ‘I was very anxious to examine an island a little off our line of march’;
    •  Campbell’s  then writes on 5 February ‘Levick and Abbott did the slopes north of us’
    Figure 4 - The following Google Earth photo shows Inexpressible Island, and Hell's Gate to Cape Mossyface.
    The above Google Earth photo showing Inexpressible Island, and  Hell’s Gate to Cape Mossyface has the following features marked:
    1. The party’s  line-of-march (green line);
    2. Vegetation Island coast line away from the line-of-march (blue line);
    3. South of some slopes (red line) opposite the island;
    4. 6 miles from the Hell’s Gate Depot(Black ellipse).

     This places the camp on 4 and 5 February between Vegetation Island and the Northern Foothills.  Looking at the map in figure 2, it can be seen that Campbell could not see the Reeves Glacier as the view was blocked by Vegetation Island. 

    My conclusion is: Campbell made his sketch from the site of their camp on 9 January 1912, and some of the place names were added sometime later. 

    Don Webster
    19 May, 2011


    New Posting—Canwe to the Boomerang.

    So far, I have posted on my  ‘Scott’s Northern Party’ site the background to Campbell’s Northern Party Terra Nova Bay/Evans Cove  adventures.  I have covered the trip from Cape Adare to their landing at Evans Cove and the establishing of a base depot at Hell’s Gate on 8 January, 1912.  The last posting, the first day of their summer sledging, described  the  9 January sledging from Hell’s Gate up passed Vegetation Island.
    Now just posted is the next three days, 10-12 January, where they pass Cape Canwe, turn into  the Browning Pass(Melbourne Gl.) and find the Boomerang Glacier.

    In preparing these postings I had an interesting time locating the originating point of some of the photos and sketches used.  In will post, to this blog, my results and hope you find them as interesting.

    Work in progress:
    1. Boomerang to Boomerang—13-19 January, 1912.
      Moving further up ‘Melbourne Glacier’—finding no way ahead—returning.
    2. Climbing the Boomerang—20- January, 1912.
      Two parties—Campbell and Priestley—climbing to look for a route to Wood Bay.
    3. Boomerang to Sastrugi—21-23 January, 1912.
      No way through—head back down the ‘Melbourne Glacier’—Campbell west side—Levick east side.
    4. Waiting for Levick’s Party—24-26 January, 1912.
      A few days surveying—rock collecting—waiting for Levick’s party.

    Now for a little housekeeping—I have been very lucky that one of the residents at my Retirement Village is editing my writing. This is not always before posting, but his corrections are made. David helps to keep the grammar and style on track.  Sorry he doesn’t check this Blog.

     Don Webster