One of the greatest maritime mysteries of modern times was solved when a team of explorers said they had discovered the wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, which disappeared under Antarctic sea ice in 1915.
An international team of marine archaeologists and scientists located the wreck 3,000 meters under the Weddell Sea, approximately four miles south of the position originally recorded when Endurance sank.
Videos show the ship, which was discovered on March 5, had been well preserved in the freezing waters, with its name clearly visible across the stern.
“This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation,” said Mensun Bound, the exploration director of the Endurance22 expedition.
The hunt for Endurance was undertaken by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust on the polar research and logistics vessel the S.A. Agulhas II, which set sail from Cape Town earlier this year and used submersibles to locate the ship.
The wreck is protected as a historic site and monument under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty.
“The water was as clear as distilled water, with a visibility of 30 meters at least. It felt like time travel,” said historian Dan Snow, who was part of the exploration.
The story of Shackleton and Endurance has gone down in Antarctic exploration legend. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was to be the first attempt to cross the Antarctic continent by foot, but the Endurance was caught and eventually crushed by sea ice.
The exploration also conducted scientific research on the effects of climate change, including weather conditions of the Weddell Sea and studies of sea ice thickness.“We have undertaken important scientific research in a part of the world that directly affects the global climate and environment,” said Dr. John Shears, the expedition leader.
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