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At 05:41 AM 11/06/00 GMT, Michael Zalar wrote:
>I think in general we can assume based on either report that the magnetic
>north was somewhere in the quadrent NW of the Eastern Settlement, but I am
>still not sure where, or what sort of accuracy can be given to the location.
No, I don't think we can assume that. Hongre's report would place the magnetic pole of 1400 due north of the Eastern Settlement or any other place the Norsemen are assumed to have attained. Even deep into the the Canadian Archipelago it would have been just slightly east of north, being only a few hundred miles away from the true pole then. Hongre's report is very mathematical (and that may be why your contact has not evaluated it), and he makes a statement that he is confident about its accuracy. As a mathematician myself, I don't see anything wrong with it. Just because we don't understand Medicine doesn't mean we should ignore the doctor's advice, and likewise for historians ignoring mathematical physics' conclusions. For the benefit of, I expect, many on the list, I am reproducing Hongre's mathematical results plotted onto a map, which is part of my forthcoming book from Johns Hopkins.
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The same illustration helps understand what Geir Odden and I have been discussing, but the best help would come from looking at the sea ice map contained on the endpapers of my book VIKING AMERICA. It is also posted on the web site. While a continuous ice bridge connects Svalbard and northeast Greenland in winter, the shortest distance is some 300 miles. Not many reindeer setting out randomly (or even directly) are likely to survive such a transit with nothing to eat. In the summer, an occasional reindeer trapped on a windblown ice floe might make it to the edge of the permanent east Greenland ice tongue, but he'd still have 150 miles to go before reaching shore. Geir's reference suggests that sometime in the species' history the gene pool did make it across, but that is a far cry from seeing multiple instances of recognizable brand markers from Bergen and Trondheim there. But the real question is about people, Carelians, getting across in daily arriving flocks. Even the Norse ships never penetrated this area. On the other hand, to imagine Carelians somehow surreptitiously sailing all the way around southern Greenland to the western coast to be seen in daily flocks strains credulity. It's got to be Thules, Geir - Skraelings.
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