80 Years of World’s First Drifting Station

PHOTO by RIA Novosti

80 years ago, on June 6, 1937 - the drifting scientific station "North Pole – 1" was put out to sea for the very first time.

The station installed on ice floe with a total area of 3x5 kilometres, was led by explorer Ivan Papanin, hydrogeologist Pyotr Shirshov, geophysicist Yevgeny Fyodorov and radio operator Ernst Krenkel. Supervised by Otto Schmidt, the expedition aimed to collect scientific data on a wide range of parameters: meteorology, geophysics and hydrobiology.

Day by day, a team was collecting samples of soil, measured sea depth and drift velocity, determined the coordinates, conducted magnetic, hydrological and meteorological measurements. Gathered information was highly appreciated by specialists at the USSR Academy of Sciences and expedition members were awarded academic degrees for their achievements.

From January 1938, the ice floe was gradually decreasing until the scientists found themselves on a 300-metre-long wreck. They had to be rescued once the ice layer became too thin and too shrunk.

This expedition has initiated constructive development of the Arctic basin. "Polar Exporer’s Day" was established in Russia in 2013, as a new professional holiday commemorating these brave scientists.