Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship, Endurance, found in Antarctic
Scientists have found and filmed one of the greatest ever undiscovered shipwrecks 107 years after it sank.
The Endurance, the lost vessel of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, was found at the bottom of the Weddell Sea.
The ship was crushed by sea-ice and sank in 1915, forcing Shackleton and his men to make an astonishing escape on foot and in small boats.
"Without any exaggeration this is the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen – by far," said marine archaeologist Mensun Bound, who is on the discovery expedition and has now fulfilled a dream ambition in his near 50-year career.
"It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation."
The Endurance, illuminated by more than 20 flashes for a photo while trapped in an ice pack on the Weddell Sea during a doomed expedition to Antarctica – August 27, 1915. This photo was prior to the ship being completely crushed and ultimately sunk by the forces of the pack ice after being trapped for months.
The Endurance was designed for polar conditions with a very sturdy construction.
Her keel members were four pieces of solid oak, one above the other, adding up to a thickness of 85 inches (2,200 mm), while its sides were between 30 inches (760 mm) and 18 inches (460 mm) thick, with twice as many frames as normal and the frames being of double thickness.
She was built of planks of oak and Norwegian fir up to 30 inches (760 mm) thick, sheathed in greenheart, a notably strong and heavy wood.
The bow, which would meet the ice head-on, had been given special attention.
Each timber had been made from a single oak tree chosen for its shape so that its natural shape followed the curve of the ship’s design.
When put together, these pieces had a thickness of 52 inches (1,300 mm).