Epic quiz answers

Read on to find the answers to the Ice Trekker quiz. How did you do?

What is the technical term for the ‘curtain’ effect in the northern lights?
b. Striations

The similarity to curtains is enhanced by folds called ‘striations’. The Aurora australis is the southern hemisphere counterpart. (The other terms are nonsense.)

The northern lights are the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles from the sun's atmosphere. The colours vary depending on the altitude and the molecules. Common pale yellow-green colours come from oxygen molecules about 80 kilometres above the earth. The rare all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen approximately 320 km up there. And lastly, the blue or purple-red auroras come from nitrogen emissions.

The curtain appearance is explained because each curtain contains many parallel rays that line up with the regional direction of the magnetic field lines. When coupled with striations, the overall effect is similar to curtains.

What language is this?
a. Karelian

So, not Elvish, then? In fact, it’s Karelian (a Finnish language spoken mainly in the Russian Republic of Karelia), sometimes scribed in Cyrillic in the past. There is no standard Karelian language so each writer writes in Karelian according to his own dialectal form. The photo is a carving from Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral, Helsinki. Much of the detail on the ceiling is reminiscent of Rohan from The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien studied Finnish in once was Finland's Viena Karelia region, along the Russian border. By the 19th century this area was a last refuge for a unique dialect of the Finnish language.

Nearly all Finns at that time were speaking Finnish, Swedish, or even Russian, the region's established written languages. But a dialect still existed in this isolated region as it always had, in oral form, passed down through the ages from one generation to the next in songs and verses, or runes.

A collection of these runes, comparable to the Greek Odyssey, is known in Finland as the Kalevala, and those who sing its lyrical verses from memory are known as rune singers. These elders long carried in their minds the entire record of the Finnish language. In what was the Viena Karelia region, the oral tradition of the Finnish language is still alive.

What is Ragnarök?
b. The death of the gods

Ragnarök in Norse mythology was the predestined death of the Germanic gods. A three-year winter led to a final battle on the Vigrid Plain, where the gods and the frost giants fought the epic final battle. Ragnarök marks the end of the old world, and the beginning of the new, current world. 
Sounds like A Game of Thrones, doesn’t it? Nothing’s new.

The Vikings were particularly interested in Ragnarök, and many of the Germanic peoples believed that the same type of battle would again occur. Even when Christianity began to take over their belief system, many of them still linked the idea of a Judgement Day with Ragnarök.

*** Did you spot it? Wordsmiths among will have noticed that Ice Trekker's Krønagar is an anagram of Ragnarök (with a different ‘o’).

Caption: A scene from the last phase of Ragnarök, after Surtr has engulfed the world with fire. The surrounding text implies that this is Ásgarðr (Asgard) burning. Date published ca 1905.

What is the technical term for the letter ø?
d. Miniscule

Ø or (minuscule) ø is a vowel and a letter used in the Danish, Norwegian, Faroese and Southern Sami languages. It is mostly used as a representation of mid front rounded vowels, such as [ø] and [œ], except for Southern Sami where it is used as an [oe] diphthong.

The name of this letter is the same as the sound it represents. Though not its native name, among English-speaking typographers the symbol may be called a "slashed o" or "o with stroke". Although these names suggest it is a ligature or a diacritical variant of the letter o, it is considered a separate letter in Norwegian and Danish, and it is alphabetised after ‘z’—thus z, æ, ø, and å.

In other languages that do not have the letter as part of the regular alphabet or in limited character sets such as ASCII, ø is frequently replaced with the two-letter combination ‘oe’.

In Danish, ø is also a word and means ‘island’. The same word is spelled ö in Swedish and øy in Norwegian.

What is Yggdrasil?
d. A sacred tree

Yggdrasil is an immense ash tree that is central in Norse cosmology, in connection to which the nine worlds exist and considered holy. The gods go to Yggdrasil daily, whose branches of Yggdrasil extend far into the heavens, while the tree is supported by three roots that extend far away into other locations; one to the well Urðarbrunnr in the heavens, one to the spring Hvergelmir, and another to the well Mímisbrunnr. Creatures live within Yggdrasil, including the wyrm (dragon) Níðhöggr, an unnamed eagle, and the stags Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór.

In Ice Trekker, the name inspired Drassilig Cove – which is treeless!

Caption: From Northern Antiquities, an English translation of the Prose Edda from 1847. Painted by Oluf Olufsen Bagge.

How many volcanic mountains are there in Iceland?
b. About 130

A total of 120 are still active. These include Eyjafjallajökull, Icelandic for ‘Island mountain glacier’), one of the smaller ice caps of Iceland, situated to the north of Skógar and to the west of Mýrdalsjökull. The ice cap covers the caldera of a volcano with a summit elevation of 1,651 metres. The volcano has erupted relatively frequently since the last glacial period, most recently in 2010, when it caused air traffic disruption. 

Click here to find out how you pronounce it.

Click here to find out how NOT to pronounce it. 

Caption: Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland

Where else, apart from Earth, do you find glaciers?
a. Mars

The polar ice caps of Mars show geological evidence of glacial deposits. The south polar cap, especially, is comparable to glaciers on Earth. Topographical features and computer models indicate the existence of more glaciers in Mars' past.

As on Earth, many glaciers are covered with a layer of rocks which insulates the ice. A radar instrument on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found ice under a thin layer of rocks in formations called Lobate Debris Aprons (LDAs).

Venus and Mercury are too hot. As for the comet, there are many longstanding hypotheses about comet construction, particularly Fred Whipple's ‘dirty snowball’ model, which correctly predicted that Halley would be composed of a mixture of volatile ices – such as water, carbon dioxide and ammonia – and dust. The missions also provided data which substantially reformed and reconfigured these ideas; for instance it is now understood that Halley's surface is largely composed of dusty, non-volatile materials, and that only a small portion of it is icy.

Caption: Mars' north pole.

Who made the earliest icebreaker ships?
a. Russians

In the 11th century, Russians started settling the coasts of the White Sea, named so for being ice-covered for over half of a year. The ethnic subgroup of Russians that lived on the shores of the Arctic Ocean became known as Pomors (‘seaside settlers’). Gradually they developed a special type of small one- or two-mast wooden sailing ships, used for voyages in the ice conditions of the Arctic seas and later on Siberian rivers. These earliest icebreakers were called kochi. Koch's hull was protected by a belt of ice-floe resistant flush skin-planking (made of oak or larch) along the variable water-line, and had a false keel for on-ice portage. If a koch became squeezed by the ice-fields, its rounded bodylines below the water-line would allow for the ship to be pushed up out of the water and onto the ice with no damage. 

With its rounded shape and strong metal hull, Pilot had all the main features present in the modern icebreakers, of which is why it is often considered the first true icebreaker. Another contender for this title is icebreaker Yermak, built in England for Russia according to the design of Admiral Stepan Makarov and under his supervision. Makarov borrowed the main principles from Pilot and applied them for creation of the first polar icebreaker, which was able to run over and crush pack ice. Between 1899-1911 Yermak sailed in heavy ice conditions for more than 1000 days.

Caption: The SS Baikal was the icebreaking steamer built at Walker in 1896. This photograph shows the icebreaker in harbour on Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal is a rift lake in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between the Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast. Photograph courtesy 'Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums'.

In Ice Trekker, the Grells are a humanoid form descended from dogs (mongrels). Annually in Alaska, mushers and dog teams flock to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. How long is the trek?
c. ca 1000 miles

In fact, the exact measured distance of the race varies from year to year, but officially the northern route is 1,112 miles (1,790 km) long, and the southern route is 1,131 miles (1,820 km) long. The length of the race is also frequently rounded to either 1,050; 1,100; or 1,150 miles (1690, 1770 or 1850 km) but is officially set at 1,049 miles (1688 km), which honors Alaska's status as the 49th U.S. state.

The current fastest winning time record was set in 2011 by John Baker with a time of 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds. The Iditarod is regarded as a symbolic link to the early history of the state and is connected to many traditions commemorating the legacy of dog mushing.

Teams frequently race through blizzards causing whiteout conditions, sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds which can cause the wind chill to reach −100 °F (−73 °C).  The race is the most popular sporting event in Alaska, and the top mushers and their teams of dogs are local celebrities; this popularity is credited with the resurgence of recreational mushing in the state since the 1970s. While the yearly field of more than 50 mushers and about a thousand dogs is still largely Alaskan, competitors from 14 countries have completed the event including the Swiss Martin Buser, who became the first international winner in 1992.

Caption: Harding Icefield above Skilak Glacier, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

On board the Ice Trekker, the crew teases Midge about Spinos. What species was a skeleton found in Svalbard recently, nicknamed Predator X before it was identified.
a. Pliosaurus

In February 2008, the University of Oslo announced the discovery of the largest dinosaur-era marine reptile ever found. This creature was the Svalbard Pliosaur. This massive creature’s total body length was estimated at about 15 metres (50 feet.) long. The Svalbard Pliosaur is claimed to be the largest pliosaur ever found. Like all pliosaurs, it was a carnivorous marine reptile that probably fed on fish and other plesiosaurs.  

Pliosaurs lived mostly in the prehistoric seas that covered modern-day Europe and fossil specimens have been found in England, Mexico, Australia, South America, and the Arctic Norwegian island of Svalbard. nfortunately for researchers, in most cases, the only part of any particular pliosaur that remains in fossilisation is the skull. Fortunately, though, the scientists are able to use the skull of the creature as a guide to help determine how the entire pliosaur looked. Scientists have been able to build models and have come up with their best assumptions as to how the pliosaurs actually looked. 

Caption: Pliosaurus skull, Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Thermopolis / 2006. Date 2 August 2012, 13:29
Source Ybpli_1b Uploaded by FunkMonk Author Greg Goebel from Loveland CO, US

By Pamela Kelt

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