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The First Russian Antarctic expedition led by Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on the 985-ton sloop-of-war Vostok ("East") and the 530-ton support vessel Mirny ("Peaceful") reached a point within 32 km (20 mi) from Queen Maud's Land and recorded the sight of an ice shelf at which became known as the Fimbul ice shelf.

This happened three days before Bransfield sighted land, and ten months before Palmer did so in November 1820.

Explorer James Clark Ross passed through what is now known as the Ross Sea and discovered Ross Island (both of which were named after him) in 1841.

He sailed along a huge wall of ice that was later named the Ross Ice Shelf.

For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia.

About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km (1.2 mi; 6,200 ft) in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has been credited with popularising the transfer of the name Terra Australis to Australia.

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However, belief in the existence of a Terra Australis—a vast continent in the far south of the globe to "balance" the northern lands of Europe, Asia and North Africa—had existed since the times of Ptolemy (1st century AD), who suggested the idea to preserve the symmetry of all known landmasses in the world.Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations.Marinus of Tyre reportedly used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century A. The Roman authors Hyginus and Apuleius (1–2 centuries A.Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades. Although myths and speculation about a Terra Australis ("Southern Land") date back to antiquity, Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered and colonised by humans, unsighted until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf.The continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of easily accessible resources, and isolation.

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