Inclement Weather and Lack of Fuel was the Cause of Their Deaths: Skarung, Per
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Inclement Weather and Lack of Fuel was the Cause of Their Deaths

Author(s): Skarung, Per

Copyright: 2015, Norway
Specifications: 1st, 4to, pp.109, 11 color & 50 bw photos, 7 bw illus, color map, wraps
Condition: new

Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen were both experienced expedition leaders with almost identical challenges when they both left for Antarctica in 1910. They established their respective bases in the Bay of Whales and the McMurdo Sound preparing for the final journey to the South Pole in January 1911. The use of paraffin during the two expeditions has many similarities, but also some significant differences that are important for understanding both the success and demise of these expeditions.

Sharung is a petroleum historian who has studied thoroughly the use of petroleum products and coal by Scott and Amundsen’s expeditions. Amundsen changed the Fram’s steam engine to a diesel engine and was the first ocean going vessel with such an engine. The startup problems were serious and the lack of qualified diesel engineers was disasterous. When they finally got an engineer from the engine manufacurer things improved considerably. He made the engine run on diesel, paraffin, a mixture of both, or even raw unrefined oil. It used surprisingly little fuel oil, but needed surprisingly large amounts of lubricating oil. With continous motor supervision the Fram reach the Antarctic without serious motor problems. Scott, with his steam/coal driven vessel, Terra Nova, ran into so much trouble that he just reached Antarctica by the skin of his teeth. Onshore, petroleum products played an equally important role at base camp and during the expeditions, for lighting, heating, cooking, hot water, motor sledge fuel, and even medicine. The most important being paraffin, and the title of the book indicates that Scott's team died from lack of paraffin.














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