Our artist's conception of the discovery of a possible "polar paradise" by the ZR-1, based on Commander Green's imaginative article. This land, the explorer believes, may be about the size of Pennsylvania, and may be encircled by a lofty volcanic range of mountains buried in eternal ice and snow. Behind a veil of fog may lie a fertile plateau where heat, from hot springs, geysers and boiling pools defies the cold. The illustration shows the possible habitations of the modern descendants of a vanished race of Norsemen.
| Go back to the scientific data on which we
base this amazing assumption. Iceland's collection of volcanoes is
unsurpassed. She has 107 major craters within her tiny limits, and
thousands of minor ones. Iceland's climate is temperate despite its arctic
situation. The peace, and health, and the prosperity of Iceland's
inhabitants were sustained by its natural warmth during the 200 years of
isolation from Europe that it suffered at the same time and for the same
reasons that the Greenlandic Norsemen were deserted.
This map shows the proposed transpolar air route of the ZR-1 from Alaska to Norway. Cutting the distance to European and Asiatic capitals from 11,000 to 5000 miles, this route would pass across what may geologists believe to be an unexplored polar land on the opposite side of the Pole from Iceland. The curving dotted line indicates the possible route whit the "lost Norsemen" may have followed to this imagined arctic wonderland.
| "The land is warm; is clothed in summer
verdure the year around; is populated by fat caribou and musk-ox. It
lies", they say, even to this day, "in the direction of the coastal
This route is that taken by our American expeditions. Peary, Kane, and Hayes all used it. It always has been the easiest route as well as the most productive of natural food in seal and walrus. For our explorers it has been a hard trail. But for the Norwegian colonists whose forebears had spent 10 generations north of the arctic circle it must have been less difficult to travel than were the western plains for our American pioneers.
Lured NorthwardPicture the terrible situation in which the deserted Norsemen in Greenland found themselves: No outlet for their trade. No source of supply for the little but indispensable luxuries of life. No access to friends and families back home.
A generation - two, perhaps - of heartbreak
and of longing; unhappiness goading the younger men to travel northward.
Perhaps a route to southern lands lay that way. Suddenly like a bombshell
breaks upon the weary colony the wonderful news: "We've found a polar
paradise! Sunshine! Game! Grass! One moon's easy journey north! A short
lap on the sea ice! Come!"
| Moreover, Iceland's lava flows are by no
means always from conventional craters. The greatest of them have come
quietly from fissures in the level land. We may deduce that subterranean
fires smolder near the surface. It is not uncommon for the inhabitants to
be forewarned of eruption by sudden melting of the snow and
Hot springs and boiling mud are found in every part of Iceland. There has been projected an engineering scheme for heating the whole island by harnessing its steaming geysers.
In this connection it is interesting to compare the mean annual temperature of Iceland 34°F - with that of Greenland at the same latitude - minus 15° F. During the summer Icelanders enjoy a period quite comparable to that of our own New England states. Averages run up to 60° F.
How the barrier mountain range of the new land may appear from a distance.