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Expedition Abandons Search for Shackleton’s Endurance

Friday, February 15, 2019

Shackleton Endurance searchCAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—Live Science reports that researchers led by Mensun Bound, director of the exploration phase of the Weddell Sea Expedition, have abandoned the search for the wreckage of Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s three-masted wooden ship equipped with a coal-fired steam engine, in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea after the loss of an autonomous underwater vehicle in inclement weather and heavy ice. Shackleton purchased Endurance, which was designed to endure icy polar conditions, and modified it for an expedition in which he planned to cross Antarctica. But Endurance became trapped in pack ice in the Weddell Sea for months and was eventually crushed, stranding the explorer and his crew of 27 on the ice as it sank in November 1915. They all survived, but the ship is believed to rest under a layer of sea ice and nearly 10,000 feet of water. Bound recalled Shackleton’s description of the area where the ship sank as “the worst portion of the worst sea in the world.” Bound's colleague, Julian Dowdeswell of the University of Cambridge, said it is unlikely that another polar research ship will attempt to resume the search for Endurance anytime soon, but he hopes this will happen eventually. “It is one of those things that stands out as an obvious challenge, and I have no doubt that that challenge will be revisited at some time in the future,” he said. To read about a 106-year-old fruitcake discovered on Antarctica, go to “Super Fruitcake.”

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