Two books provide new insights into the polar explorer Lauge Koch's life

30-11-2016

A two-volume book from GEUS provides new insight into the polar explorer Lauge Koch's life and work through papers owned by the Koch family. This is the second part of the English-language trilogy: The Koch Family Papers.

Lauge Koch (1892-1964) was involved in Greenland affairs for 50 years with far-reaching impact. The Danish National Archives (Rigsarkivet) holds the bulk of his papers; others that remained with his family form the basis of a book published in 2012 as Part 1 of a trilogy, The Koch Family Papers.

The present two-volume book - Part 2 of the trilogy - focusses on a unique collection from the pre-aviation era: two hundred drawings and maps pertaining to the mapping of Greenland's Farthest North or Avannaarsua. Koch began this mammoth task as a student on Knud Rasmussen's 2nd Thule Expedition (1916-18) and completed it on his own Bicentenary Jubilee Expedition (1920-23). The assistance of the indigenous people - the Inughuit - on these ventures was indispensable.

Geologist Peter R. Dawes - emeritus research scientist at GEUS - has been working with Greenland affairs for more than 50 years. While geoscience has been his foremost occupation, the history of polar exploration and geographical discovery takes a close second place.

During several expeditions to North Greenland in the 1960s, Dawes was introduced to the pioneer work of Lauge Koch who dog-sledged in the region between 1916 and 1923 producing the first regional geological and topographical maps of northern Greenland. His admiration for this eminent accomplishment and Koch's later work in East Greenland has been lifelong and, through contact with Koch's family, it has resulted in several articles on his work and life.

The Koch Family Papers
Part 2: Drawings and maps from the 2nd Thule and Bicentenary Jubilee Expeditions (1916-1923) and the mapping of northern Greenland (Avannaarsua)

Volume 1: Background to the expeditions and a Catalogue
Volume 1 describes and interprets the collection, which includes the only surviving landscape panoramas out of the hundreds compiled. Koch's upbringing, early life and the objectives of Danish exploration are examined, and his achievements accorded pride of place in the history of Arctic cartography, both geologic and geographic.

Further reading and order: The Koch Family Papers Part 2, Volume 1
http://www.geus.dk/DK/publications/popular-geology/books/koch_fam_papers/Sider/part_2_1.aspx

The Koch Family Papers
Part 2: Drawings and maps from the 2nd Thule and Bicentenary Jubilee Expeditions (1916-1923) and the mapping of northern Greenland (Avannaarsua)

Volume 2: Mapping from Baffin to Koch and the role of Greenlanders
Volume 2 reviews cartographical and geological exploration from the first observations recorded on paper by William Baffin in 1616 to Koch's appearance on the scene 300 years later. The Greenlanders' role in mapping their country is highlighted; their collaboration in all aspects of fieldwork was vital to Koch's success.

Further reading and order: The Koch Family Papers Part 2, Volume 2
http://www.geus.dk/DK/publications/popular-geology/books/koch_fam_papers/Sider/part_2_1.aspx

Contact:
Communications officer Henrik Højmark Thomsen, GEUS
Tlf.: 91 33 35 36
E-mail: hht@geus.dk