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(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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in the sea approximately north of the entrance to the
White Sea and Kanin Nos. It was a sign that there
was food in the water, and probably also fish.
But this sea is a cold one, and the quantity of fish is
variable and uncertain in consequence. It is true that
a branch of the Atlantic current (the " Gulf Stream ")
runs in here to the eastward past the North Cape—the
North Cape Current, as I have called it—and follows
approximately the edge of the shallowest bank which
extends northward from the continent, and over which
wc were såiling.
The whole of this sea is shallow. The depth varies
from between 25 and 45 fathoms along the whole of
this shelf to the north of the Russian coast, to between
150 and 180 fathoms in the deepest channel to the
north of us. The current has no force in such shallow
waters, with so uneven a bottom ; it forms all kinds of
whirlpools and eddies, and the shallow volume of water
is sharply chilled in the course of the winter.
For all that, this warm Atlantic current influences
the ice conditions in these regions ; for, but for it, the
water in this shallow sea would become colder ; it
would be cooled down to about the freezing-point of
sea-water in winter, more and thicker ice would be
formed over the whole sea, and there would be little
open water for navigation in summer.
Wc took soundings on our way east, but the depth
is very variable. At one time it may be over 100
fathoms, then 50, then perhaps only 35 or 40. There
are many depressions, grooves and valleys down under
the water.
In my opinion, the bottom of Barents Sea, to as far
north as Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land, is only to
be considered as a part of the continent of Europe. It
was once continuous dry land, intersected by mighty

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