If you know me or follow this site, you know my obsession with the Franklin Expedition. The disappearance of the two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror nearly 170 years ago has been one of history’s lingering mysteries. Two days ago, scientists scouring the Arctic announced they had finally discovered the submerged remains of one of the ships.
What happened to his expedition has been a mystery for more than 170 years. The expedition’s disappearance became one of the great mysteries of the age of Victorian exploration.
A team of Canadian divers and archaeologists began searching for Franklin’s ships back in 2008. Now they’ve finally had a breakthrough.
Sonar images from the waters of the Victoria Strait, near Nunavut, reveal the wreckage of a ship resting on the ocean floor. Turns out, it is one of Franklin’s missing ships.
“I am delighted to announce that this year’s Victoria Strait expedition has solved one of Canada’s greatest mysteries, with the discovery of one of the two ships belonging to the Franklin Expedition,” said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement.
“You can actually see things like deck planking, you can see the side of the hull and even debris like signal cannons on the deck,” said Geiger.
The loss of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror prompted one of the largest searches in history, running from 1848 to 1859. Experts believe the ships were lost when they became locked in the ice and that the crews abandoned them in an effort to reach safety.
“It’s a very important wreck. It’s arguably one of the most exciting underwater finds — just because so little was known about what happened to the Franklin Expedition. It’s just one of those great, enduring historical mysteries,” Geiger said.
There are a lot of fantastic books surrounding the disappearance of the HMS Erebus and Terror. Two I highly recommend are Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition and the fictitious, but frightening, The Terror by Dan Simmons.