Filchner Wilhelm

(13.09.1877 - 07.05.1957)


German traveler and writer, explorer of Central Asia, the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Born in Munich.

He graduated from the Prussian Military Academy. To travel to Russia, I learned Russian. In 1898 he visited St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Crimea.

In 1900 he went through Moscow to Turkestan, on horseback he overcame the Pamirs.

In 1903-1905, together with Albert Tafel, he carried out an expedition to Western China, investigating the area from Xining to Tibet and taking geomagnetic measurements. Travelers have repeatedly found themselves in the balance of death and were robbed three times. In 1908, Filchner received the title of Honorary Doctor of Science (without defending a thesis) of the University of Königsberg. In 1910 he worked in Svalbard.

In 1911–1912 he headed the 2nd German South Polar Expedition, which sailed on the ship “Deutschland” to Antarctica. Deutschland came out in May 1911 from Bremerhaven, in October it reached Buenos Aires, from where it moved south to the eastern part of the Weddell Sea. During the summer (December-March) 1911-1912. The expedition overcame a zone of icebergs and on January 30, 1912, discovered and explored Prince Luitpold's Land (28–35º W) in the shelf waters of the Antarctic. There was discovered a giant ice valley with an area of 542,000 km². She in 1912 was named in his honor - Filchner Ice Shelf. On the edge of the ice shelf, Vaxel Bay was opened, where it was decided to build a polar station. But during the construction part of the glacier broke away - and the construction of the station was stopped. In the fall, the ship moved north, but on March 9, 1912, at 75° 43′ 32° 19′ W, got into ice captivity and had to stay for the winter (which went well). During the wintering period, complex scientific research on oceanography, glaciology, hydrography and meteorology was carried out. The movement of ice in the central part of the sea is traced, the temperatures at the surface and in the bottom layer are measured, the first data on the bottom relief in that part of the Weddell Sea are obtained.

In the spring of 1923, Filchner's acquaintance with his colleague in Central Asian studies P.K. Kozlov took place in Moscow. Between scientists began a long correspondence.

In the years 1926-1928 Filchner made a number of new expeditions to Central Asia, visited the famous Pelkor Chode Monastery and the salt lake Kukunor. On the territory between the Tarim Basin and Kashmir, as well as in the areas between Sining, Tsaydam swamps and Tibet, Filchner conducted electromagnetic and meteorological studies. In order to continue such scientific works, Filchner left for Nepal in 1939. During World War II, in 1940, an explorer was interned by the British in India, and was held for some time in the Patna prison hospital. From September 13, 1941 to November 1946, he was in concentration camps in the state of Maharashtra.He returned to Europe in 1951. He settled in Zurich, where he died.

Ice area in Sabin Land,  Western Spitsbergen Island. Coordinates 78° 30.0'N   17° 40.0'E.


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