Is There a Polar Paradise?It is no speculation of wild improbability to picture a polar paradise, like some titan emerald in its alabaster setting. At Disco, Greenland, orchids warmed by natural hot springs blossom out of doors through the bitter sunless winter months!
Weighing carefully all the facts available, we may set the area of the new land at about 50,000 square miles, or roughly the size of the state of Pennsylvania. Its perimeter is bulwarked by a quake-distorted range of mountains buried in eternal ice and snow, and rearing 10,000 feet into the sky. Twisting fiords penetrate the ragged ice-gnarled coast.
Just inside the mountains hangs a veil of fog, the vapor of contrasting temperatures. For here we may imagine the aspect changes sharply. Heat from a nether world defines the cold. White of snow and ice shades swiftly to the green of verdant pastures, and gold of wooded uplands.
| We come upon a level clearing on which are
spread symmetrically half a hundred human habitations. Tall men
magnificently built and clad in short and bright hued loosely fitting
blouses are moving leisurely about. Mingling with them are comely,
fair-haired women in dainty smock. Laughing children dash here and there
among the shrubbery.
No savages are these descendants of the vanished colony. Indeed, we shall be mistaken if they are not far in advance of our own smug selves in culture, learning, deportment, and social refinement. They have harnessed natural energy to an amazing degree. They know the truths of other worlds. They have mastered the secrets of health.
May Revolutionize CommerceYet we need not be swept away by too sanguine a view of what the ZR-1 may find. There are others features savoring more of cold, hard facts than of romance.
For instance, a polar air route cuts the distance to European and Asiatic capitals from 11,000 to 5,000 miles. A vast volume of commerce and traffic will be deflected from America toward the Pole.
No matter what the land may be which lies close to the Pole, it will control the Polar Ocean strategically. Appreciation of this fact is evidenced by Amundsen's announcement that his next great effort to be first across will include three planes. And there are whispers that two other powers are grooming entries for the race.
Alaska then must come into her own. She will gather population and stand as an arctic service station to passing planes.
The ZR-1 may get away by early June. The weather then is calm; the daily temperature just above the freezing point. After her 6,000-mile flight from Lakehurst to Point Barrow, from which she will eventually take off, there must be a period of final grooming; possibly a trial or two out over the icefields. And by the Fourth of July, 1924, we should know the answer to this most thrilling of all man's geographical conundrums.
Does a polar paradise exist? And, if so, are the vanished Norsemen there?
Lieut.-Cmdr. Fitzhugh Green, U.S.N.. from a photograph taken in the Arctic.
Commander Green's own idealist drawing, showing a cross section of the imagined arctic continent - an undulating, fertile plateau, steam heated by hot springs, geysers and boiling pools and rimmed by a volcanic range of mountains. Behind this barrier rises a veil of vapor.