De Maupertuis The degree measurements by de Maupertuis in the Tornionlaakso Valley 1736-1737
 Main PageThe shape of the earthThe ExpeditionLife by the riverPersonal GalleryReferences

The measuring instruments
The measurements
The measurement sites
base line



Sommereux, Hellant and Outhier with two servants and five soldiers were there to erect the measurement point at Kaakamavaara. The journey to the Kaakamavaara fell took eight hours though the distance was only about fifteen kilometres. It was here that the travellers got their first true touch with the nature of Lapland and the difficulties their journey could offer. The top of the Kaakamavaara fell was bare and covered all over by large boulder slabs. The party lit a big bonfire to keep the mosquitoes away.

Kaakamavaara - 4th September 1736:
We arrived on the top of Kukuma a little after eight o'clock ; it was already very dark, and the rain came on heavier ; the whole summit of the mountain was nothing but rock or water : Nevertheless we pitched a tent in a spot as damp as it was hard, and Peter, who was with us, pitched the other near the signal, to put the quadrant under shelter. Our Fins, well skilled in making fires, kindled one in spite of the badness of the weather; we endeavoured to warm and dry ourselves. But the cold rain which fell in torrents, rendered our attempts useless. Maupertuis, tired of being cold, and getting wet by the fire, retired towards the tent : the night was very dark, it was one of those not lightened by the aurora borealis. M. de Maupertuis walking on the points of the rocks, on which by day it is difficult to walk, put his leg between two rocks and fell. Peter and myself ran to him on hearing the noise, and found him in such a situation as to give us apprehension he had broke his thigh : we helped him into the tent, and we cut twigs of birch to serve as a mattrass for him. I supped by the fire with M.Celsius ; we went to lay down in the tent beside Maupertuis, and passed the night coolly enough.

It rained again on Wednesday, the fifth, all the morning, with a fog: in the afternoon we endeavoured to take our angle, but could not satisfy ourselves ; we were however comforted by learning that Maupertuis found himself better, and that he had nothing to fear from his accident. It rained very much through all the night again: our poor Fins bore with all the constancy imaginable the brunt of the weather, without any shelter ; they appeared as insensible to its roughness as our reindeer.

Thursday, the sixth, by ten in the morning, it ceased to rain ; we made our observation very well, dined, and left the mountain at three in the afternoon, to go by very bad roads, and often through water, to sleep at Corpikyla. Maupertuis walked very well, and felt scarcely any pain. (Outhier, Journal of a voyage to the north 1736-1737, p. 294)


Hellantin piirros
from Karunki to Kaakamavaara and Nivavaara

(drawing by Hellant)


Information about the site

main page | shape of the earth | expedition | life by the river | personal gallery | references
Visitors to Lapland

Kittisvaara Niemivaara Pullinki Horilankero aavasaksa Huitaperi Kaakamavaara Nivavaara Tornio Perusviivan mittaus Perusviivan mittaus