De Maupertuis The degree measurements by de Maupertuis in the Tornionlaakso Valley 1736-1737
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The measuring instruments
The measurements
The measurement sites
base line

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The poem of Niemivaara fell


The Kittisvaara fell had been chosen already in the early phase but from there only the Pullinki fell was visible. This is why the expedition had to for some time look for a fell that offered a view of both Pullinki, Aavasaksa and Kittisvaara fells. During this search Alposvaara, Lankovaara, Kiettimenvaara, Kukasvaara and Niemivaara fells were ascended. The Niemivaara fell was chosen for the measurement purpose because it offered the best triangular points and it was also visible from the Kaakamavaara fell. This choice made the measurement design of a chain with seven triangles possible.

The Frenchmen were highly delighted by the scenery in Niemivaara area. De Maupertuis describes it as follows:

8-11th August 1736
The beatiful lakes that surround this mountain, and the many difficulties we had to overcome in getting thither, gave it the air of an enchanted island in a romance. And indeed any where but in Lapland it would be a most delightful place. On one hand you see a grove of trees rise from a plain, smooth and level as the walks of a garden, and at such easy distances as neither to embarrass the walks, nor the prospect of the lake that washes the foot of the mountain. On the other you have appartments of different sizes, that seem artificially cut in the rock, and to want only a roof to compleat them. And the rocks themselves so perpendicular, so high and so smooth that you would take them for the walls of an unfinished palace rather than for the work of nature. From this height we had occasion several times to see these vapours rise from the lake, which the people of the country call Haltios, and which they deem to be the guardian spirits of the mountains. We had been frighted with stories of bears that haunted this place, but saw none. It seemed rather a place of resort for fairies and genii than for bears. ( Maupertuis: Figure of the Earth 1736, s.55)



Drawing of Niemivaara by Outhier


Information about the site

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Visitors to Lapland

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