Researchers have discovered the remarkably well-preserved wreck of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance, in 10,000 feet of icy water, a century after it was swallowed up by Antarctic ice during what proved to be one of the most heroic expeditions in history.
A team of marine archaeologists, engineers and other scientists used an icebreaker ship and underwater drones to locate the wreck at the bottom of the Weddell Sea near the Antarctic Peninsula.
The research journey of the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust Stamina 22 The discovery was announced on Wednesday.
Pictures and videos of the wreck show the three-masted wooden ship in pristine condition, with the gold-leaf lettering “Stamina” still attached to the stern and the ship’s lacquered wooden rudder still upright, as if the captain might return to steer it at any time.
“This is the best wooden shipwreck I’ve ever seen,” said Manson Pound, Director of Exploration. Pound noted that the wreck remains erect, free from the sea floor and “in superb state of preservation.”
Naval historian Stephen Schwankert, who was not involved in the expedition, said the find was a “significant find” in “one of the world’s most challenging environments”.
The combination of deep and dark waters – sunlight doesn’t penetrate even 10,000 feet – thwarted freezing temperatures and sea ice. Previous efforts To find stamina, but also to explain why the wreckage is in such good shape today.
The bottom of the Weddell Sea, said Schwankert, is “a very inhospitable environment for just about everything — especially the kind of bacteria, moths and wood-eating worms you might enjoy chewing on a wooden shipwreck.”
The Endurance22 expedition set off from Cape Town, South Africa in early February on a ship capable of breaking through 3 feet (1 meter) of ice.
The team, which included more than 100 researchers and crew, deployed underwater drones that combed the sea floor for two weeks in the area where the shipwreck was recorded in 1915.
“We have made polar history by discovering Endurance, and we have successfully completed the largest shipwreck search in the world,” said expedition leader John Shears.
British explorer Shackleton never fulfilled his ambition of becoming the first person to cross Antarctica via the South Pole. In fact, he never set foot on the continent.
“Despite being designed to withstand impact with floating ice and to penetrate the ice pack, the endurance could not withstand being crushed by heavy sea ice,” said Anne Coates, a marine historian at the University of Portsmouth.
Shackleton himself noted the difficulty of trying in his diary.
“The end came about five in the evening,” he wrote. “It was doomed to perish, and no man-built ship could withstand such pressure.”
Before the ship disappeared 3,000 meters under icy waters, Shackleton’s crew loaded food and other provisions into three escape lifeboats and set up camp on an ice floe, where they used sled dogs to haul the provisions, according to Shackleton’s memoirs.
Shackleton and his captain, Frank Worsley, then sailed through 800 miles (1,287 km) of treacherous icy waters in a 22-foot (7 m) ship to the island of South Georgia, a remote whaling area, for assistance. That successful flight is considered a heroic feat of persistence, and Shackleton’s decisive response to impending tragedy remains in place today. As an example of how to drive in difficult conditions.
said Anna Wahleen, a polar researcher at the University of Gothenburg, who has just returned from a two-month mission to study the ice shelves and warming ocean currents in Antarctica.
In Antarctica, “everything is gray or white,” and after just a few weeks, explorers “began to miss smelling the earth, walking in the woods, hearing birds chirping, seeing green things,” she said.
The expedition to discover the stamina comes a century after Shackleton’s death in 1922. British historian and broadcaster Dan Snow, who accompanied the researchers, tweeted that Saturday’s discovery of the wreck occurred “100 years after Shackleton’s burial.”
The ship is protected as a historical monument by the 6-decade-old Antarctic Treaty that aims to protect the region’s environment.
Researchers photographed the wreck, but nothing or nuisance was found. Instead, excursion operators say they want to use laser scans Create a 3D model of the ship which can be displayed in both traveling exhibitions and the permanent museum exhibition.
The Bound Expedition was written in Blog post.
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