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The Arctic: Exploration Timeline

Arctic discovery timeline

Arctic Timeline: Ancient Times from 330 BC to 1000 AD
Arctic Timeline from 1594-1610
Arctic Timeline from 1725-1779
Arctic Timeline from 1776-1779
Arctic Timeline from 1819-1831
Arctic Timeline from 1845-1873
Arctic Timeline 1878
Arctic Timeline from 1879-1882
Arctic Timeline from 1882-1884
Arctic Timeline from 1886-1909
Arctic Timeline from 1893-1895
Arctic Timeline from 1903-1905
Arctic Timeline from 1910-1915
Arctic Timeline from 1918-1925
Arctic Timeline 1930
Arctic Timeline 1958
Arctic Timeline from 1970-1990s
Arctic Timeline from 1993-1998
Arctic Timeline from 2007-2008
The Russian physicist and philosopher, Mikhail Lomonosov
Portrait of M. Lomonosov. Image courtesy Ecoshelf.

arctic map
Lomonosov's map of the Arctic. Image courtesy Ecoshelf.


In 1732, the Russian Admiralty organized the Great Northern Expeditions both on land and at sea to find the Northeast Passage along the coast of Siberia. Overseen by Vitus Bering, the expeditions mapped thousands of kilometers of the coast of Siberia for the first time, discovering numerous bays, gulfs, capes and islands. Many geographical features are named after the Naval officers who led the explorations, such as Cape Cheluskin, Malygin Strait, Cape Ovtsyn, Cape Skuratov, and Cape Steligov.

The Russian physicist and philosopher, Mikhail Lomonosov, participated in the Great Northern Expeditions for 20 years. He organized special polar explorations, supplying each vessel with physical and astronomical instruments, teaching navigators to make physical measurements, and developing ship logs and meteorological log books. From this information, he suggested a scheme of currents in the Arctic Ocean, classified sea ice types, and explained the role of the sun as a source of heat in the Arctic. He also made a map of the Arctic with ocean at the North Pole—an idea not the generally accepted at the time.

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