Canada: Two ships, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus set off from England in 1845. Their task was to discover a route across the North-West Passage. However, in 1848, their efforts came to a standstill when the ships were stuck in sea ice. The result was tragic because the crew members had to abandon the ships and try to walk to safety across the Arctic. All of them died one by one, including British explorer John Franklin who was in the team.

Researchers have found the nearly 170-year-old wrecks and they appear to be in good condition. It was a joint study by Parks Canada in conjunction with Inuit researchers. Images have emerged.

CNN describes the wreck of HMS Terror as being "frozen in time." This happened due to a number of factors like the cold, deep waters of Terror Bay in Nunavut, Canada. Then there was a layer of silt. It helped preserve important artifacts related to navigation like maps, logs, and scientific instruments.

The team discovered HMS Erebus first. That was in September 2014. The second ship HMS Terror came two years later. It was on the seabed off King William Island.

The team relied on a robot

This was another instance of Artificial Intelligence at work.

The research team deployed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to collect video footage from nooks and corners. It is described as "one of the largest, most complex underwater archaeological undertakings in Canadian history." The ROV explored 20 cabins and compartments on the ship. It was a systematic work and the result showed that nature had preserved the contents to near perfection. As a member of the team says, “The impression we witnessed when exploring the HMS Terror is of a ship only recently deserted by its crew.”

CNN goes on to comment on the preservation of written documents.

These will help reconstruct the last days of HMS Terror. The general opinion is that the condition of documents would be good. They base their presumption on several factors. One of these is the temperature of water in the region, which is near freezing point. Second is the absence of natural light. Third is sedimentation – it helps preserve organic material like paper because it creates an environment where there is less oxygen. There is a decision on the disposal of artifacts from HMS Terror and HMS Erebus. Canada and the Inuit will be joint owners.

Ships were of 1845 vintage

According to the New York Post, Canadian researchers have discovered the two ships lost 170 years ago during an Arctic expedition of Britain. They left in 1845 with famed British explorer John Franklin and the crew members abandoned ship in 1848. They perished and researchers discovered the remains of the ships. HMS Erebus was in Victoria Strait in 2014, and HMS Terror was under 80 feet of water in Terror Bay.

It was a miraculous find and the teams are trying to piece together available evidence to understand the sequence of events that led to the tragedies. Times have changed over more than one and a half centuries and the Arctic of today is very different from what it was in the 1840s.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!
Click to read more