Frozen In Time
For more than 100 years, a ship called the Endurance was hidden under the icy waters near Antarctica. Now, the ship has been found. And it looks a lot like it did a century ago.
The Endurance was part of an expedition led by British explorer Ernest Shackleton. In August 1914, Shackleton and his crew set out to make the first land crossing of Antarctica. But trying to reach the frozen continent would almost prove to be deadly. In December, the Endurance became trapped in the ice-covered Weddell Sea. The ship drifted for 10 months before it got crushed by pack ice. For five more months, the crew camped on ice floes before escaping in lifeboats to a nearby island. By then, the Endurance had sunk into the sea.
On March 5, 2022, a team of researchers located the Endurance nearly 10,000 feet (3,008 meters) under water. It wasn’t easy. The team had to use a ship that’s designed to break through the ice that covers the Weddell Sea. They sent remote submarines under the water to search for the ship. It took more than two weeks to find the Endurance. No sunlight reaches the seafloor, making the environment extremely cold and dark.
But the cold water proved to be a very good thing. It kept the Endurance in remarkably good shape. Scientists say wood-eating worms often eat away at shipwrecks. But these worms can’t survive at the bottom of the freezing Weddell Sea. So the Endurance still looks a lot like it did during Shackleton’s lifetime.
Viewing photos of the ship is almost like going back in time.