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How Antarctic shipwreck discovered 10,000 feet beneath the surface remained frozen in time

How Antarctic shipwreck discovered 10,000 feet beneath the surface remained frozen in time

The doomed vessel has an incredible history of exploration.

Incredible footage taken deep under the Antarctic shows the perfectly preserved wreck of a ship that was lost more than 100 years ago.

The footage is of the ship Endurance, which carried legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton on his doomed attempt to cross the Antarctic in 1915.

The expedition faced disaster when the ship became trapped in sea ice and sank, leading the explorer and his crew to embark on a heroic journey across the ocean in a tiny lifeboat.

The 3000 metre deep wreck was finally found in March 2022, a month after the expedition to find the ship set sail from Cape Town.

Although it has long been known where the ship was, thanks to Shackleton’s diary, expeditions in the past had failed to reach the vessel.


This is because of the treacherous conditions facing any attempt to reach the wreck – and the threat of the same sea ice that doomed the Endurance.

Speaking to the BBC, the mission’s leader, polar geographer Dr John Shears described finding the wreck as an “incredible achievement”.

He added: "We have successfully completed the world's most difficult shipwreck search, battling constantly shifting sea-ice, blizzards, and temperatures dropping down to -18C.

“We have achieved what many people said was impossible."

No artefacts from the ship have been brought to the surface because the wreck is a designated monument under the Antarctic Treaty, meaning the vessel must remain completely undisturbed.


Nonetheless, the submarine’s camera was able to get a clear look at the ship, perfectly preserved in the icy Antarctic waters.

Clearly visible on the stern is the name of the ship, spelled out in large letters.

Beyond that can be seen the porthole of Shackleton’s cabin, and the sub even spotted a pair of boots and some old books.

Aside from some damage where the ship hit the seabed, and collapsed masts, the ship remains almost unchanged from when it was last seen more than 100 years ago.

Fortunately, the ship has escaped destruction from wood-eating animals that live in other oceans.

Royal Geographical Society/Getty
Royal Geographical Society/Getty

But the ship is still home to a huge amount of sea life, such as anemones, sea sponges, and other deep-sea creatures, giving the wreck an even spookier appearance.

Shackleton and his crew set off in 1914 to be the first people to cross from one side of the Antarctic to the other.

But before they reached land, they became trapped by ice forcing them to cross over the ice with lifeboats, temporarily setting up a base on the uninhabited Elephant Island.

Then, with only a small lifeboat, they completed an 800-mile journey across the dangerous waters of the South Atlantic to the island of South Georgia where they were rescued.

Featured Image Credit: Falklands Marine Heritage Trust/National Geographic/BBC/Spencer Arnold Collection/Getty