Ron Carlson Arctic Expeditions

Ron Carlson Arctic Expeditions
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Aerial Thermal Pics of Simulated Tomb

It worked.  

These aerial thermal images of the simulated tomb were taken  during a recent late afternoon.  Altitude was approximately 3,000 feet MSL, with an ambient ground temperature of approximately 50 degrees fahrenheit.  

Note that the thermal image does clearly paint the colder grade (darker blue) which is the simulated tomb, compared with the adjacent undisturbed grade (lighter blue).  The size of the tomb is approximately 2.5' wide x 7' long x 4' plus deep, which shows up  clearly here as a small dark blue slash. 

The curving image just to the left of the tomb which has a lighter blue line is that of a golf green with rock formation. These small boulders in the back of the green form the curvature that still possessed some latent heat.

The larger red, white and pink images are the thermal images of the adjacent homes and roads, which have a more intense stored latent heat load from the earlier sun.

Below - This is the image that was shown in an earlier post of the simulated tomb - when it was under construction a few months ago this winter.


  1. Impressive work! Although I will say, the features of such a tomb may be difficult to distinguish from (say) small pockets under the rocks and scree where water may have accumulated.

  2. Good thought Russell. I agree.

    It will be hard to discern the difference between these type of false leads until I hopefully land and ascertain the actual ground conditions on King William Island from any initial targets painted by the camera. But for now, with no permafrost here in Chicago, with the temperatures going up to the 50's and 60's, the ice has all but melted and the simulated tomb is now starting to become a mucky depression that is slowly sinking. Might get some more aerial images of what that looks like soon. Or maybe find a rock quarry.

    Seems like the chances are also there that wherever Franklin rests, if on land, would be in similar condition to what David Woodman found and thought to be Lt. Irving(on your blog). Large rocks surrounding a shallow hollow - a tomb "on the land". There ice and/or water would probably accumulate. You had the good suggestion to look out for that too. A direction that I will follow.

  3. The records of late nineteenth century and early / mid twentieth century searchers show that quite often when they found Franklin Expedition remains, they buried (or reburied) them. From their accounts it is not always clear exactly where these reburials are.

    So it would be very valuable to map as many possible graves on the west and south coast of KWI as possible. Not all of them will be burials made by the Franklin Expedition, even if the remains in them are Franklin Expedition members. But the location of all kabloona graves there will be very important information as it may be possible to relate them to later searcher accounts.

    It is strange, but I think the poor man whose bones are buried at Greenwich may hold the current funeral record, having had four:

    * After he died and when was buried on KWI in the 1840's.
    * When his remains were re-interred at the Painted Hall in Greenwich in the 1870's.
    * In the 1930's when his remains were moved to the back of the Painted Chapel.
    * In 2009 when his remains were re-interred in their present location in the Painted Chapel.

    This may be something of a record but some of the others may have been moved around too...

  4. I don't know how shallow Franklin's grave would be. The crew dug fairly deep through the permafrost for Torrington, Hartnell and Braine and that would have been in winter conditions. They also carted the bodies from the ship a fair way inland.

    For the Captain, if he was buried on land, they would have done at least the same, especially since it was then June.

    So if he was buried on land, I would expect it was closer to traditional depth for graves at the time.

  5. Exactly. That's what I was always thinking. And hoping for this upcoming "experiment".

    And if so = well preserved 2'x6' box with artifact(s).

    But who knows. Low odds. But unless one tries, one never would know.