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Russian Arctic Park’s specialists rescue artefacts from aggravating erosion

September 10, 2017, 20:41 UTC+3 ARKHANGELSK

Later on, the rescued objects will be shipped to Arkhangelsk, which will offer special conditions to keep and study them

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ARKHANGELSK, September 10. /TASS/. A group of specialists from the Russian Arctic Park finished works to rescue from the surf strip area the artefacts of the Evelyn Baldwin expedition to the North Pole. The work was organized on the Algera Island of the Franz Josef Land archipelago. The Park’s Deputy Director Maria Gavrilo told TASS the specialists rescued the historic objects, which were in the area, where the shore erosion threatened them.

"That was an emergency rescue of the artefacts, objects from the zone of marine erosion. There are many boxes there, barrels, marked objects, clothes, footwear, dishes, tinned food," she said. "We were pulling away from the surf area everything caught into the erosion area."

All the rescued objects were taken to the national park’s base called Tikhaya Bay on the Hooker Island of Franz Josef Land. Later on, they will be shipped to Arkhangelsk, which will offer special conditions to keep and study them.

"The most complicated and risky part is to have the objects to the mainland, to other climate conditions. Here, they require special conditions. Then would go initial sorting, analysis of the state, and urgent restoration if required, or at least conservation, and then scientific descriptions, which would require archive work," the deputy director said.

The winter camp, called Camp Ziegler, of the Baldwin expedition is one of the historic objects on Franz Josef Land, which is still in good conditions. It is on a sandy shore, which lately had been suffering aggravating erosion. Due to the climate change in the Arctic, there is practically no ice along the archipelago’s shores in summer, the shore is exposed to waves. Formerly, the ice would block the shore from the water, and while in 2013 it was still more than ten meters to the base, nowadays some part of it is close to be lost in the erosion.

The remains of the historical North Pole expedition are about to be washed at sea because of aggravating erosion in the area.

"The process aggravates; this summer was cold, but anyway everything was ruining," the deputy director said. It is impossible to stop the erosion, she added. "There, the shore is open; if there were even a tiny bay, well, further on we shall have to either undertake rescue excavation and extract everything from there, take it to the mainland, or take the objects, relocate them (deeper into the shore - TASS) and arrange a reconstruction inside the island - in order to preserve. Both options are possible."

Baldwin’s North Pole expedition

The joint Norway-US expedition led by explorer and meteorologist Evelyn Briggs Baldwin in 1901 set out for Franz Josef Land. The attempt was to reach the North Pole. Baldwin was forced to spend the winter on the island, which he named after the US writer Horatio Alger. The expedition did not make it to the North Pole. The main reason of the failure is considered to be arguments between the US and the Norwegian members of the expedition.

The expedition returned to Europe in 1902. Participants in other Arctic expeditions used the camp and food. To the present days, the camp’s area keeps half-ruined huts, boxes from food. Even coffee beans could be found there.

The Russian Arctic National Park is the northernmost and the biggest natural reserve in Russia. It unites the Franz Josef Archipelago and the northern part of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. TASS wrote earlier, the reserve is organized on the Severny Island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and the neighboring waters of the 12-mile area. The reserve will take 1,046,234.3 hectares, thus the total area of the Russian Arctic National Park would be more than nine million hectares, and it once again will become the biggest reserve in the world.

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