James Clark Ross

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James Clark Ross
Known for Antarctic exploration

Ross, James Clark


Born Apr. 15, 1800, in London; died Apr. 3, 1862, in Aylesbury. British naval officer and polar explorer.

During the years 1818–33, Ross took part in six arctic expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage, three (1819–24) under the leadership of W. E. Parry and two (1818 and 1829–33) led by his uncle J. Ross. In 1830 he crossed the Boothia Peninsula by sledge; in the west he discovered the strait that was later named after him and beyond the strait saw land that he mistook for a peninsula (King William Island). In 1831 he located the north magnetic pole at 70°05’17” N lat. and 96°46’45” Wlong.

In the years 1840–43 he made three summer voyages to the antarctic in the ships Erebus and Terror. Traveling from the Island of Tasmania, Ross in 1841 discovered the sea named after him at 72° S lat., the adjacent physical region (Victoria Land), the volcanoes Mount Erebus and Mount Terror at 77°30’ S lat. (on Ross Peninsula), and the Ross Ice Barrier (a precipice of 45–60 m) beyond the volcanoes. Moving east along this barrier, the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, he reached 78°04’ S lat. and in 1842 was the first to reach 78°09’30 S lat. In the antarctic summer of 1842–43, however, coming from the Cape of Good Hope south across the Weddell Sea, he reached only 71°30’ S lat. Ross mapped the eastern shore of Victoria Land, but he believed that this region and all other previously discovered antarctic lands were merely islands and not parts of a southern continent.


Voyage of Discovery and Research in Southern and Antarctic Regions During the Years 1839–43, vols. 1–2. London, 1847.


Treshnikov, A. F. Istoriia otkrytiia i issledovaniia Antarktidy. Moscow, 1963.
Magidovich, I. P. Ocherki po istorii geograficheskikh otkrytii. Moscow, 1967.


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