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Arctic Ice Hampered Recent HMS Erebus Expedition

Monday, October 1, 2018

Erebus Block SheaveOTTAWA, CANADA—HMS Erebus and its sister ship, HMS Terror, were abandoned in 1848 in the Canadian Arctic during Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated search for the Northwest Passage. Live Science reports that recent investigation of the wreckage of HMS Erebus by Parks Canada archaeologists yielded nine artifacts, including metal parts of rigging instruments, a piece of tarred felt, a ceramic pitcher, and an artificial horizon—a tool used in navigation with a sextant to determine latitude when the horizon is obscured. The pitcher and artificial horizon were found in an officer’s cabin on the lower deck of Erebus. Bad weather prevented divers from entering Sir John Franklin’s cabin, however, where they hoped to discover the ship’s logs and other documents that could provide information about what happened to the ship. “This proved to be the worst ice conditions we’ve ever seen,” said underwater archaeologist Ryan Harris. “We were only able to cover a day and a half of scientific diving on the site.” To read in-depth about the discovery of Erebus, go to “Franklin’s Last Voyage.”

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