An extraordinary find off the coast of Antarctica: 100 years after the disappearance of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Wreck Found

Une découverte exceptionnelle au large de l’Antarctique: l'épave de l'Endurance d'Ernest Shackleton retrouvée 100 ans après sa disparition

The search operation announced on Wednesday that it had photographs of the wooden debris. Endurance’s remains were discovered six kilometers from where it sank in 1915.

“She stands very proudly on the untouched, seashore, in a magnificent state of conservation,” said Mensun Bound, director of the mission organized by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust.

“You can also read its Endurance name by marking it in an arc on the stern,” he said. The team of hundred left Cape Town on 5 February aboard an icebreaker in South Africa, aiming to locate the wreck before the end of Australia’s summer.

The hull of the ship remained intact. The equipment stood against the railing as if the crew had just disembarked from the boat. One mast is broken but the frame is still standing despite being damaged. The wreck is preserved as a historic site and nothing has been brought to the surface.

In late 1914, Endurance had left the British Isles of South Georgia in the South Atlantic to take the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Shackleton to attempt the first crossing of the Antarctic continent.

white hell

In the early 20th century, the conquest of the Poles inspired many explorers. Among them, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his attempt to become the first person to cross Antarctica from end to end, from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea. The adventure lasts two years and ends in failure, but Shackleton’s epic in white hell goes down in history.

After only a few months at sea, broken pack ice becomes a problem: the ice is denser than expected. In January 1915, the ship was trapped in the ice of the Weddell Sea near the Larsen Ice Shelf. Trapped for months, the 44-metre three-mast schooner slowly breaks apart and sinks to a depth of 3,000 metres.

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Knowing that no one will come to his rescue, Ernest Shackleton embarks on a daring journey to seek help. He sets off in an endurance canoe with minimal equipment and food rations towards the inhospitable and icy Elephant Island facing the Antarctic Peninsula.

Alerted, the Explorer will return a few months later to rescue the rest of the crew. All 28 members of the expedition survived. The expedition became famous because of the survival conditions of the crew who camped for months on the ice.

The research expedition, called Endurance 22, used state-of-the-art technology, including two underwater drones, to explore an area that described itself as “the worst part of the ocean in the world” due to ice conditions. Had to find out. “This is the most complex underwater project ever undertaken,” said Nico Vincent, a member of the mission.

Scientists have also studied the effects of climate change. Researcher Stephanie Arndt of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany said on Twitter that she had collected “an incredible number”, 630 samples of snow and ice.

The crew will now begin the eleven-day journey back to Cape Town.

Along with Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who was the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911, Australian Mawson, and Briton Robert Falcon Scott, Shackleton is one of the big names in the history of Antarctic exploration. He died in January 1922.


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